Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Gosport welcomes round-the-world sailor Alex Thomson home

A cluster of boats gathered to welcome the Gosport sailor home
Image caption A cluster of boats gathered to welcome the Gosport sailor home

Vendée Globe yacht race runner-up Alex Thomson has been greeted by cheering crowds on his return to his home port.

A parade of sail in Gosport, Hampshire, celebrated the solo skipper's podium finish in the prestigious non-stop race around the world.

It took place at Spitbank Fort in the Solent at about 10:15 GMT and was followed by a reception in Gosport.

Thomson, 42, completed the race last month after 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes at sea.

He matched Dame Ellen MacArthur as the highest-placed British competitor in the Vendee Globe. She finished second in the 2001 race.

Image copyright Hampshire Marine Unit
Image caption Hundreds of people lined the Solent to welcome the sailor home
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Media captionThomson crossed the line 15 hours, 59 minutes and 29 seconds after winner Armel le Cleac'h

His time was four days days faster than the previous race record of 78 days, two hours and 16 minutes set by Francois Gabart in 2012-13.

Welsh-born Thomson had led for many of the early stages in his yacht Hugo Boss and broke two race records prior to being overtaken, with eventual winner Armel le Cleac'h moving ahead in early December.

Stewart Hosford of Alex Thomson Racing said: "A race like this is the culmination of four years of hard work, training and preparation from both Alex and the team behind the scenes. Alex's second-place finish, together with a number of new records, is a superb achievement.

"We are looking forward to welcoming Hugo Boss and Alex back home this weekend."

Image copyright Hampshire Marine Unit
Image caption Alex Thomson (centre) completed the race after 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes at sea.

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