Just a few minutes ago Alex Thomson crossed the finish line of the Vendee Globe at Les Sables d'Olonne after 80 days 19 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds at sea. His average speed around the course was 12.6 knots and he actually covered 28, 022 miles at an average speed of 14.4 knots. (The race's theoretical distance is 24,393.41 nautical miles).
After Ellen MacArthur's second place in 2000 and Mike Golding's third in 2005, Alex Thomson becomes the third British skipper ever to finish on the podium of the Vendee Globe. His time substantially improves Golding's previous British solo race record from 2005, by 7 days 19 hours 52 minutes. After winner Francois Gabart and second placed Armel Le Cleac'h, Thomson has also smashed the previous race record of 84 days 03 hours 09 minutes set by Michel Desjoyeaux in 2009.
So hats off to the man who, all along, said that his main aim was to finish – and that after two previous attempts at the Vendee Globe which ended in disaster and disappointment. Approaching the Azores, third-placed Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec) suffered total keel failure, and Thompson – who lost his keel in the 2004 Vendee Globe – was quick to alter course in case assistance was required. A generous gesture which saw him throw away the chance of finishing inside 80 days.
Congratulations, Alex, on joining one of the most exclusive clubs in the world – the Solo Racing Circumnavigators Club.
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