Hampshire’s Alex Thomson has come third in the world’s toughest sailing challenge – the Vendée Globe solo non-stop, around-the-world race.
The sailor from Gosport crossed the finish line at 7.25am in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, on 30th January. He had spent 80 days, 19 hours and 23 minutes at sea.
His achievement sent him into the record books as the fastest Briton ever to sail around the world in a monohull boat. He smashed the existing race record set by Michel Desjoyeaux in 2008-2009 by nearly eight days.
The 27,000-mile circumnavigation known as the Marathon Of The Seas is a personal triumph for the Thompson. He has attempted the race twice before but never managed to finish. 2013 was his year though and his 60-ft boat Hugo Boss saw him to the finish line.
“The best memory from this round the world is to finally arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne and see the welcome. When you describe the start of the race they cant believe it, but so far I have never been able to describe the finish and I look forwards to now being able to tell people about it now,” he said.
Thomson is now only the third Briton to claim a podium finish in the race, following Ellen MacArthur’s second place in 2001 and Mike Golding’s third in 2004.
Amongst the congratulations came appreciation from fellow Hampshire sailors. Brian Thompson said on Twitter “Let’s not forget the @AlexThomson99 has done the 3rd fastest time in the history of the Vendee Globe – and in a 6 year old boat!” and Mike Golding said “”I would like to congratulate Alex on a fantastic race. Before the race began it was clear that Alex had a good connection with this boat and he has sailed the race he deserves.”
So what about the future?
When asked if he would be returning to try to win the 2016 race, he replied: “Competing in the Vendée Globe and being part of a team that aspires to be in this race is all consuming. You give up your life to be able to do it and there are some fantastic positives with it and there are also some negatives as well. I love doing it and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Whether I do 2016, I don’t know but I am sure that I’ll do the Vendée Globe again