One year ago, Alex Thomson was being rescued from his sinking boat in the Southern Ocean. 12 months on, he has set a new 24 hour distance world record
British sailor Alex Thomson and his co-skipper Andrew Cape have broken the 24 hour distance record for a 60 foot monohull yacht. Competing in the Barcelona World Race aboard HUGO BOSS, the pair covered 499.22 miles nautical miles (nm) between 11.15 and 11.15 GMT from 6th-7th December, at an average speed of 20.8 knots. Thomson already holds the 24 hour distance record for a single-handed sailor, having covered 468.72 nautical miles in a day on his previous yacht, which he lost in the Southern Ocean last year.
'It’s a great feeling to have set a new world record,' commented an elated Alex Thomson this morning. 'When I broke the record on my last boat in 2003, the average wind speed was 35 knots, compared to just 23 knots which we have experienced over the past 24 hours. The new HUGO BOSS is a beast - there is no doubt about it! Four days ago we were 400 miles behind the leader and now we are just over 100 miles behind, so we are slowly reeling them in.'
HUGO BOSS is still going strong as she heads further south in the Southern Ocean and so the record may well be broken again in the coming hours. Thomson will soon reach the point where his previous boat suffered extreme structural keel failure during the Velux 5 Oceans race last November and he was forced to abandon ship. His situation could not be more different today.
'It is very ironic to think that this time last year I had just arrived in Cape Town having been rescued by Mike Golding, and here I am a year later having set a new world record,' said Thomson. 'We have slowed the boat down now to take the pressure off a little. This is about winning a race and not about breaking records. We have a long way to go and we must keep the boat together if we are to be competitive.'
26 days into the Barcelona World Race, HUGO BOSS is in fourth place, 125 nm behind leader PRB (FRA), 115 nm behind Paprec Virbac 2 (FRA), and just 9 nm behind Veolia Environnement (FRA). The fleet will spend the next two weeks in the Southern Ocean before passing through the Cook Straits between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The boats will then head south-east to Cape Horn and finally north up the Atlantic to the finish in Barcelona. The 25,000 mile course should take three months to complete, finishing in February 2008.