Alex Thomson breaks monohull solo transat record
The 38-year-old sailor crossed the line at 17:17GMT (18:17 BST) setting a new time of 8 days 22 hours 8 minutes, beating the previous record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which had been held for 10 years.
“It has been a long few days,” said Thomson. “The first half from New York was great with weather conditions in our favour, but things started to slow down the closer I got. But the wind has held out this morning and it’s so fantastic to have broken this record.”
Thomson set sail from New York on 17 July at 19.09GMT and covered 2800 nautical miles in a quest to break the record for what is officially known as the ‘West to East Ambrose Lighthouse to Lizard Point Under 60ft Single-Handed Monohull Record, Male’, which stood at 10 days, 55 minutes and 19 seconds, after it was first set by Swiss sailor Bernhard Stamm aboard his IMOCA 60 Bobst Group-Armor Lux, 10 years ago.
His secondary aim was to get home in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in order to support Chairman and good friend, Sir Keith Mills. “When I set off I had no idea if I was going to be able to do it. And it has been hard. Lack of sleep, broken instruments on the boat and constant exposure to the elements has really taken it out of me. But it’s such a good feeling to have beaten it by such a great margin,” said Thomson.
The record is a perfect warm-up for this year's main event for Thomson and the Hugo Boss IMOCA 60 - competing in the Vendee Globe. “This record attempt was also a training exercise for the Vendee Globe. We felt this record attempt would put me under real pressure and stimulate race conditions and I have felt a real value in it.”