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Sir Robin Knox-Johnston congratulates Hampshire sailor

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, has congratulated Alex Thomson on his podium finish in the prestigious Vendee Globe, the only single-handed non-stop round-the-world race.

At the age of 25 Alex Thomson became the youngest skipper to win a round-the-world race when he led Ariel to victory in the 1998-99 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which was founded by Sir Robin to enable people from all walks of life to experience the challenge of ocean racing.

Alex Thomson, from Gosport, completed the Vendee Globe today in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, 80 days after leaving on his record-breaking circumnavigation, finishing in third place behind Frenchmen Francois Gabart and Armel Le Cleac’h.

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 Knox Johnston

He's done it! Hampshire sailor celebrates Vendee Globe success

Alex Thomson setting off from Les Sables d'Olonne in November Credit: Press Association

Hampshire yachtsman Alex Thomson has finished third in the world's toughest sailing challenge - the Vendee Globe solo non-stop, around-the-world race.

38 year old Thomson, from Gosport, crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne in France in his 60-ft boat Hugo Boss.

He reached the Vendée Globe finish line at 07 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds (GMT) after 80 days 19 hours 23 minutes 43 seconds at sea. He finishes 2 days 18 hours and 7 minutes behind François Gabart.

In doing so he has also become the fastest Briton ever to sail around the world in a monohull boat - smashing the previous record by nearly eight days.

He's now only the third Briton to claim a top three finish in the Vendee after Ellen MacArthur was second in 2001 and Mike Golding - who is in sixth in this race - who finished third in 2004.

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Hants sailor's boat damaged during Vendée Globe race

The Gosport-based sailor Alex Thomson has managed to continue in the Vendée Globe race after his boat hit an unknown object while travelling at a high speed on Sunday night. There was rudder damage and his power sources were affected. He has spent the last 36 hours carrying out emergency repairs.

The 38-year-old is currently in fifth position and still travelling at around 20 knots. The damage to one of his hydro generators - leaving just one operational - means he has to cut down on his use of electronics on board to save power. Hydro generators are the primary power supply on board.

"I checked the blade for damage and all looks ok this time so I replaced the fuse and set it back down again, tacked the boat back again and got back on my way. More miles lost, but again, not terminal. I have had the working rudder kick up three times all year so it seems a little harsh to hit something twice in almost 1 day but I am thankful that the fuse is doing its job and the rudder is staying in one piece. I really hope I don’t get dropped off the back of this lead group with these setbacks”

– Alex Thomson

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