Gosport sailor Alex Thomson could be on the verge of history after closing in on the lead of the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race.
Thomson has now been locked in battle with his fellow sailors for more than two months, and early this morning was just under 100 nautical miles off leader Armel Le Cléac’h of France.
He is attempting to become the first non-French sailor to win the solo yacht race, which is sailed non-stop and without assistance.
Despite being nearly 900 nautical miles behind his French rival before Christmas, difficulties with light winds have allowed Thomson to significantly close the gap to first place with about a week of the race remaining.
For the last few days the sailors have been making their way through the Doldrums, an area of low pressure near the Equator in the Atlantic, before starting to make their way towards the finish port of Les Sables d’Olonne in France.
This morning race organisers reported that the two rivals are currently passing round the Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
Speaking in a video update yesterday, Thomson said: ‘Firmly in the Doldrums, had a terrible night last night.
‘Felt like I did one or two knots for most of the night, and into this morning, but today’s not been too bad.’
The Vendée Globe takes place every four years and has historically been dominated by the French.
The race is renowned as one of the most gruelling sporting challenges in the world.
“Firmly in the Doldrums, had a terrible night last night.”Alex Thomson
Since its inception in 1989 just 71 of 138 starters have successfully completed the race while three have lost their lives.
Thomson finished in third place in the 2012-2013 edition of the race, while Dame Ellen MacArthur came second in 2000-2001.