Gosport Sailor 3rd In World's Toughest Race

Hampshire yachtsman Alex Thomson finished third today (30th January) in the world's toughest sailing challenge - the Vendee Globe solo non-stop, around-the-world race.

Thomson, 38, from Gosport, crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne in France in his 60-ft boat Hugo Boss this morning after 80 days at sea. He will claim 75,000 euro (£64,000) in prize money.

In doing so he has also become the fastest Briton ever to sail around the world in a monohull boat - smashing the previous record by nearly eight days.

A podium finish in the 27,000-mile circumnavigation dubbed the Marathon Of The Seas is a personal triumph for the sailor, who has never managed to finish a solo around the world voyage before and has suffered set-backs and bad luck over the years.

Thomson is now only the third Briton to claim a top three finish in the Vendee after Ellen MacArthur was second in 2001 and Mike Golding - who is in sixth in this race - who finished third in 2004.

He's had to deal with generator problems that meant he had little power available to contact the outside world and speak to his wife Kate and young son Oscar, who turned two while his father was at sea.

Alex Thompson Reunited With His Family

''There have been highs and lows,'' said Mrs Thomson. ''At the start he was doing really well and at one point he was second and we were really excited.

But then he had problems with his generators and we thought this could end the race and we were worried.

In the last few weeks things have gone his way though and we're just looking forward to having him home and Oscar is really excited. He is telling everyone that he's going to be seeing his daddy.''