Record-breaking second place in the Vendee Globe race
Well done to Haslar's hero, Alex Thomson!
After a nail-bitingly exciting 27,000 miles, Haslar berth holder and Gosport resident Alex Thomson has come second in the 'Everest of the seas', the Vendee Globe solo round the world race.
The word 'second' doesn't do justice to Alex's achievements. His finish time of 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes is still 4 days faster than the previous record set by Francois Gabart in 2012-13, and he was just under 16 hours behind the winner, Armel Le Cleac'h on Banque Populaire. His average speed for the 27,636nm was 15.4 knots, hitting highs of 30 knots at times.
Thomson was able to close the gap to Le Cleac'h from 800 miles to just 50 in the race up the Atlantic, but wasn't quite able to overhaul the Frenchman in the last few days of the race.
During the race Alex set a new world 24 hour distance record of a staggering 536.81 nautical miles at an average speed of 22.4 knots. That was on 16 January after 2 months at sea in punishing conditions - watch Alex's on-board vlogs if you think this was a pleasure sail!
This is Alex's fourth Vendee Globe with Hugo Boss as sponsor, and his second podium finish. He has become only the second Briton to finish second, the first being a certain Ellen MacArthur in 2001. No Briton has yet won the Vendee, but it sure came close this time! Armel Le Cleac'h set a blistering pace and kept it up in all conditions; he is a worthy winner of the Vendee Globe 2016-17.
The yacht Hugo Boss is a pure carbon race machine, with few creature comforts. An IMOCA 60, she is 60 feet long and has the latest foils, daggerboard-like appendages which allow the boats to 'fly' across the water. Built for speed, these boats can be both tough and fragile. One of the Hugo Boss foils was damaged, probably by floating debris, just two weeks into the race. Other Vendee Globe boats suffered more serious structural damage and were forced to retire.
Alex is now going to enjoy some time with his wife and children - on a Caribbean sailing holiday. The man is a true sailor! Bravo Alex; we can't wait to welcome you home to Haslar!
Photos have been kindly borrowed from the Vendee Globe website www.vendeeglobe.org and photographers credited in the titles.