Former Clipper Race Skipper Equals British Record in Vendee Globe

20 January 2017

The youngest skipper to win the Clipper Race, Alex Thomson, has finished in second place after a thrilling fight to the finish to the Vendee Globe.

Alex crossed the finish line after Vendee Globe winner Armel Le Clèac’h in Les Sables-d’Olonne, on the west Atlantic coast of France. After more than 27,000 nautical miles and 74 days at sea, in the end only 16 hours and 31 seconds separated the pair.

The British sailor, like Le Clèac’h, finished well under world record time. In crossing the line first, Le Clèac’h beat the previous record of 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes set by French sailor Francois Gabart in the 2012-13 edition of the Vendee Globe by 3 days, 22 hours and 41 minutes.

This is Alex’s best result in the gruelling, single handed, non-stop, unassisted race around the world, after finishing third in the last edition in 2012. It also equals Dame Ellen MacArthur’s second place in 2001, Britain’s best result in the Vendee Globe.


Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston remains the only Brit to win a solo, continuous circumnavigation, after claiming victory in the forerunner to the Vendee Globe, The Golden Globe, in 1969.

“Congratulations to Alex for putting in such a competitive performance in the latest Vendee Globe,” says Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

“Alex still holds the record as the youngest skipper to win the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and he now can add a second successful solo circumnavigation to his impressive list of achievements.”

Just like his record breaking Clipper Race victory in 1998, where he not only won the race at age 25 with his Ariel crew but also set a still-to-be-broken record of six consecutive race victories, Alex’s latest Vendee Globe attempt will be one to remember.

Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing

The 42-year-old from Gosport had a dream start but lost his early lead to Le Clèac’h after the starboard hydrofoil on his Hugo Boss yacht was ripped off by an unidentified submerged object, making him much slower on port tack.

But his race wasn’t done. Alex made his move at Christmas, and reduced an almost 1,000nm deficit to under 40 heading into the final 24 hours of the race. In the process, he managed a world breaking 536.8 nautical miles in the 24 hour period leading up to 0800 UTC on Monday January 16. An average speed of 22.4 knots, or 25.7mph, enabled Alex to beat the record of 534.48nm set by Gabart in the 2012-13 edition of the Vendee Globe.

If you would like to experience your own round the world adventure and race across the world’s oceans, there are still limited crew places for the upcoming Clipper 2017-18 Race. To find out more and to apply, click here.

Banner image copyright Alex Thomson Racing

Apply now