Alex Thomson: British sailor unveils boat he hopes will win 2020 Vendee Globe

Alex Thomson unveils £6m boat he hopes will take him to victory

British sailor Alex Thomson believes he has the boat to win him the Vendee Globe around the world race in 2020.

Thomson, from Gosport in Hampshire, finished second on board Hugo Boss in 2017 behind France's Armel Le Cleac'h.

A broken hydrofoil hampered his victory chances after he had broken two race records in the early stages.

"Each time we get better and better, hopefully with a bit of luck we'll do it this time," Thomson said. "It's about winning at the end of the day."

The 45-year-old has also finished third among his four Vendee Globe attempts and is keen to cap off 20 years' work by being the first Briton to win the event.

"It means everything," Thomson told BBC South Today. "Mike Golding and Ellen MacArthur have tried it, so hopefully I can put that on the map not just for myself, but for sailing."

Alex Thomson Racing's latest Imoca class Hugo Boss boat
The new £6m Hugo Boss boat features an inside cockpit rather than one out on deck

Bangor-born Thomson has begun putting the £6m new edition of his Hugo Boss boat through her paces on the Solent, reaching speeds of up to 40 knots.

"There's two parts to it, performance and reliability," he said. "We can make the fastest boat in the world, but it has to be able to finish the race.

"We're going to work hard on both of those - it looks like she's going to be a fast boat, now we have to work hard to make her reliable."

The 60ft Imoca class craft has been built at the same boat yard in Hamble, near Southampton, as Sir Ben Ainslie's new vessel for the next edition of the America's Cup.

It features an inside cockpit to improve speed and efficiency while the deck is covered with solar panels as Thomson aims to sail around the world without using any fossil fuels.

Watch: Amazing helicopter footage of Alex Thomson in Vendee Globe race

Despite the setbacks in 2017, Thomson completed the course in 74 days 19 hours 35 minutes and 15 seconds.

The winner of the next edition could circumnavigate the globe in fewer than 70 days, given the performance of the boats.

"It's very promising, we certainly get up flying and very fast very quickly," Thomson said.

"We're seeing a difference of 20% compared with the last boat in the early stages, but it will take us a year to get this boat ready for the Vendee Globe."

Next year's edition of the Vendee Globe starts on Sunday, 8 November 2020 from Les Sables-d'Olonne in western France.