Gosport sailor sets new British record in yacht race

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GOSPORT sailor Alex Thomson has broken the British record for sailing single-handedly around the world.

Alex crossed the finish line of the Vendee Globe yacht race at around 7.25am today, in third place overall after 80 days, 19 hours and 23 minutes.

RECORD BREAKER Yachtsman Alex Thomson

RECORD BREAKER Yachtsman Alex Thomson

He completed the race on its 80th day – eight days faster than the record set by Mike Golding in 2004/05.

It is the first time Alex has finished the race, being forced to retire on his two previous attempts.

The official timings show he crossed the French finish line at 07 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds GMT, after 80 days 19 hours 23 minutes 43 seconds at sea.

He finished 2 days 18 hours and 7 minutes behind race winner François Gabart.

During the race, which started in Les Sables d’Olonne on November 10, Alex twice had to keep his chances of finishing alive by rebuilding his hydrogenerators – a major repair to the small waterborne generators which make electricity.

He spent a month running with very minimal power on board his boat Hugo Boss, in a state of increasing isolation.

Meanwhile, Southampton-based Golding is in sixth position suffering problems with his craft.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, was one of the first to congratulate Alex.

He said: ‘Congratulations to Alex for joining the exclusive list of solo circumnavigators.

‘The significance of his achievement is better understood when it is appreciated that three times as many people have been into space as have sailed solo around the world.’

Sir Robin runs the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which Alex, aged, 25, became the youngest skipper to win in 1998-1999.