Britain's Thomson takes Vendee Globe third

Britain's Alex Thomson on Wednesday arrived in Les Sables d'Olonne, western France, to take third place in the Vendee Globe round-the-world yacht race.

English skipper Alex Thomson celebrates on his yacht "Hugo Boss" after placing third in the 7th edition of the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race on January 30, 2013 in Les Sables d'Olonne, western France. The 38-year-old skipper and his boat Hugo Boss crossed the line at 0725 GMT after completing the course in 80 days, 19 hours and 23 minutes. He is the third Briton to make the podium.

The 38-year-old skipper and his boat Hugo Boss crossed the line at 0725 GMT after completing the course in 80 days, 19 hours and 23 minutes. He is the third Briton to make the podium after Ellen MacArthur in 2001 and Mike Golding in 2005.

The prestigious non-stop race was won by France's Francois Gabart, who completed the gruelling course on Sunday in a new record time of 78 days 2 hours 16 min. His compatriot Armel Le Cleac'h was second.

Thomson, who is married with a child, has participated twice before in the Vendee Globe, in 2004 and 2008, but was forced to abandon both times.

"I've sailed out of the channel three times but only once back in. And let me tell you, the way back is absolutely great," he said.

"A lot of this race is about preparation. It took me three months to complete this race but it took my team three years to make it possible so I want to thank them all very much".

"I remember (race director) Denis Horeau asking me if a race time of 77 days was realistic. I told him it was ridiculous, but he was right. Our IMOCA 60 boats are fantastic. I would have loved to do it three days faster, but hopefully next time I will".

"The most important thing for me in this Vendée Globe was to finish the race. Standing on the podium is amazing, though and really, the race time is irrelevant".

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Writer: AFP
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