MEMBERS of the public are being urged to pack the harbour and welcome home round-the-world sailor Alex Thomson.
The sailor is set to return to his home town of Gosport on Saturday in a blaze of glory after his second place finish in the Vendee Globe solo yacht race last month.
Alex, 42, finished the race in just 74d 19h 35m 15s and matched Dame Ellen MacArthur as the best ever Briton in the race as she also finished runner-up in 2001.
He broke the British record by six days and also broke a world record for the most ground covered in 24 hours.
Alex will come back to his home town on his £3.5m Hugo Boss vessel, sailing into Portsmouth Harbour in a parade of sail from Spitbank Fort at 10.15am.
He will arrive at the ferry pontoon in Gosport at 11am where he will be met by the Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Lynn Hook.
He is one of the most successful sailors this country has ever produced in the last few years.Gosport Mp Caroline Dinenage
From there, the dad-of-one will be given a guard of honour by councillors and Gosport sea cadets.
Then he and the mayor will give speeches in the Falklands Gardens before meeting members of the public.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘Alex is so inspiring.
‘The endurance in the race alone is something but the way he did it all, given his boat was damaged, was amazing.
‘He is one of the most successful sailors this country has ever produced in the last few years.
‘Children were following his progress throughout his sail. Even if they do not take to the water, it inspires them massively.
Malcolm Dent, who watched from the Seahorse pub every Wednesday, added: ‘His achievement brought the community together and I would say everyone should come down and enjoy the event.’
Cllr John Beavis, advisor for Gosport Marine Scene, said he highly recommends people should come along an show their support.
He said: ‘What an amazing achievement it was.
‘Looking at his interviews on his way round he looked fit and wide awake. When you consider how much sleep he was getting, I was just amazed.
‘I’ve been amazed by just how many people followed his voyage.
‘The beauty is that people can go to the homecoming and then do things in the afternoon like watch Pompey.’