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Vendee Globe runner up Alex Thomson returns home to hero's welcome in UK

Vendee Globe runner up Alex Thomson returns home to hero's welcome in UK

Mark Lloyd

Alex Thomson was welcomed home today by crowds of people who gathered to celebrate the sailor’s record breaking effort in the prestigious Vendée Globe, widely renowned as one of sport’s toughest challenges.

Thomson finished second in this year’s edition of the solo, non-stop, race around the world, crossing the finish line on Friday 20th January 2017. Thomson completed the gruelling race in just 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes, becoming the fastest Brit to ever sail solo around the world in a monohull.  

Many boats joined Thomson in a Parade of Sail this morning, commencing in the Solent and travelling through Portsmouth Harbour before berthing Thomson’s racing yacht, HUGO BOSS, at the Gosport Ferry Terminal. Thomson was welcomed ashore by the Mayor of Gosport for a civic reception, as well as answering questions from the crowd of excited fans.  

Mark Lloyd

Thomson commented, “I am always overwhelmed by the support I receive from my local community, but today has been particularly special. I’m truly honoured that these crowds came out to celebrate not only my achievement, but also the work of my team both before and during the race, today is as much a day for them as it is for me and it is something none of us will ever forget.”

As well as breaking his previous around the world race record of 80 days, Thomson has matched Dame Ellen MacArthur’s second place finish which she achieved back in the 2001 edition of the race. 

CEO of Alex Thomson Racing, Stewart Hosford, said: “We are incredibly proud of what Alex has achieved and are delighted to see the tremendous support from our local community. An achievement such as this is the result of four years of extremely hard work and preparation from both Alex and the team behind the scenes and it is fantastic to be able to celebrate such a fantastic result.” 

Mark Lloyd

The Vendée Globe is a single-handed, non-stop, unassisted race around the world. Often termed ‘the Everest of Sailing’, the race– which takes place just once every four years – pushes sailors to their very limits, requiring them to compete alone at sea without stopping, setting foot on dry land, or receiving any form of assistance for almost three months. 

The 2016-17 edition of the Vendée Globe began on Sunday, November 6th when Thomson, alongside 28 fellow skippers, set sail from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. The race was won by Frenchman Armel Le Cleac’h who sealed victory on 19th January 2017, finishing just 15 hours, 59 minutes and 29 seconds ahead of Thomson.

[Main image: Mark Lloyd]

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