Brian Thompson 'ecstatic' after breaking world record
"Like all things, it happened in a pub," said record-breaking yachtsman Brian Thompson, reflecting on how the idea to travel around the world was first dreamt up.
Speaking from Brest in France, the 49-year-old, from Southampton, said the trip of a lifetime came after a chance meeting at Cowes on the Isle of Wight with Kevin Escoffier from Banque Populaire.
"He was looking for experienced round-the-world sailors, so I got invited onboard to do some short trips," said Thompson.
His boat, the 40m-long maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V, crossed the Jules Verne Trophy finish line in Brest at 22:14 GMT on Friday, smashing the existing record by nearly three days.
As a member of the 14-strong crew on board, Thompson himself broke the world record for the fastest circumnavigation.'A real dream'
Mr Thompson, whose job onboard the boat was as helmsman and trimmer, said: "I was driving the boat, which was a real dream, and helping with all the sail changes and trimming the sails."
By crossing the finish line in a total of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds, he has also become the first Briton to circumnavigate the globe non-stop for a fourth time, beating existing records held by fellow Hampshire sailors Dee Caffari and Mike Golding.
End Quote Brian Thompson
It was the trip of a lifetime, we saw some amazing sights, icebergs, comets and albatross, but I am very glad to be back on land”
A flotilla of boats and crowds on the dock welcomed the 14 crew back to Brest.
"We saw the lights from about 20 miles out and everyone was just ecstatic," he said.
"I was so happy. It's my fourth time around the world non-stop, this has been the best, on the fastest boat in the world."
The circumnavigation had to be completed unassisted, with only human power manning the boat - with no electric or hydraulic winches.
He said: "Eighteen years ago the record was 79 days and now we've got it down to 45 days. It was an incredible run, we were ahead of the record most of the way.
"It was the trip of a lifetime, we saw some amazing sights, icebergs, comets and albatross, but I am very glad to be back on land."
The yachtsman has been racing two and three-hulled speed machines for 20 years and has notched up 25 sailing records.
"I am looking to do the next Vendee Globe, I think I have two more laps of the planet in me," he said.