Setback for Gosport sailor as boat suffers damage in global race

Hampshire sailor Alex Thomson has discovered damage to his boat - two weeks into a round the world yacht race.

He came across the structural issue while carrying out a routine inspection yesterday evening.

The Gosport sailor was leading the 33-strong Vendee Globe fleet after almost a week of racing. His boat Hugo Boss is around 26 miles in front of his nearest rival as they headed south through the Atlantic.

At the time, Thomson was located approximately 800 miles east of Rio de Janeiro in the South Atlantic ocean, and was 13 days into the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race.

The Hugo Boss skipper is working with his appointed naval architects and structural engineers to assess the extent of the structural issue and to determine a repair programme and timeline.

Alex Thomson's team say he is safe and well onboard, and in regular dialogue with the team. The Vendée Globe race organisation has been notified.

Alex has now put the boat into a safe position to manage the sea state in order to reduce movement onboard while he carries out the repair. He has all the necessary materials onboard, a detailed plan to follow, and a team of world class engineers advising him. We are therefore confident in his ability to complete the repair.

Ross Daniel, Technical Director at Alex Thomson Racing

The Vendee Globe, which was founded in 1989, takes place every four years and is regarded as the world's toughest yacht race.

The record for the single-handed round-the-world race is 74 days.

Thomson is attempting to become the first non-French winner of the famous round-the-world race.