British solo sailor Alex Thomson has moved up into third place and gained on the leaders overnight as he fights for a podium finish in these final few weeks of the round-the-world race, the Vendee Globe.
– Alex Thomson, sailor
I moved up into third last night when my routing a lot further to the west of the other three in this lead group paid off. It is a great feeling to be in third especially at this stage of the race, but there are still over 5,000 miles to go so I need to stay focused on my own race and not get distracted too much by the potential excitement of a podium finish. My aim coming into this race, and my aim until the very end is to finish. Anything else will be an amazing bonus."
Alex is currently in 3rd position, only 174 miles behind Armel Le Cléac'h in 2nd place and 320 miles behind the leader François Gabart.
His navigation decisions since rounding Cape Horn on 4th January 2013 has seen him sail a more direct but risky route up the southern Atlantic, close to the coast of Brazil. It's meant he has maintained the fastest speeds of the top four boats over the past few days.
He added: "My route is not what you would call standard. It is to the western side of the near permanent front that extends from Rio to the southeast, and there are advantages and some risks. The advantages are that when I cross the front I will be close to the centre of a small low, which hopefully means I won’t get trapped in light winds for very long. Within 36 hours of me passing the front the wind is forecast to shift from the NNE to the ENE which should allow me to tack and head north so essentially I will be sailing a shorter route than the three in front.
"The disadvantages are that the models are not very good at predicting the wind close to the front so it is very possible that I will see a period of little wind as I cross it. Having punched out a long way to the east the front three boats will have a better wind angle to the doldrums and will be able to go faster. But for me the advantages outweigh the disadvantages."
Alex has moved up into third as he competes closely against three boats of a newer generation than his own. At the same time he has had to repair and reattaching his broken hydrogenerator to the boat.
His power source broke on 9th December 2012 after an impact with an unidentified object in the water. Since then Alex has been forced to sail in ‘power saving mode’. But since rounding Cape Horn Alex successfully completed the major repairs
Alex has since been tweeting his progress in the race.
Into 3rd place, if i can get through the front without stopping maybe I can hold onto it for a while #VG2012
Getting through this low/front is proving to be very slow and painful.