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Alex sets up for a grandstand finish
7:20am Thursday 17th January 2013 in Hampshire Sport
HAMPSHIRE round the world racer Alex Thomson was last night just over a day’s sailing from crossing back into the Northern Hemisphere on the home stretch of the Vendée Globe race.
The 38-year-old from Gosport was just over 500 miles from the Equator in fourth place in the 24,000-mile non-stop round the world solo race. Once at the Equator, Thomson will have around 3,000 miles left to sail to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, from where the race started on November 10 last year.
Once over the Equator, Thomson will have to tackle the Doldrums, a band of low pressure known for causing havoc to sailors with light winds and fierce squalls.
“The weather files show my Doldrums crossing should be less painful than the others but I have heard that one before and we will have to wait and see,” Thomson said. “I will be in the Doldrums in two days from now and then back to going upwind again.”
At the latest position update, Thomson was around 300 miles behind third-placed Jean Pierre Dick, and 850 miles behind leader Francois Gabart.
Meanwhile, fellow Hampshire sailor Mike Golding was hot on the tail of his closest rival Jean Le Cam.
Warsash round the world veteran Golding, in sixth place more than 2,000 miles behind the frontrunners, was just 80 miles behind his French rival.
“I am still happy with where I am,” the 52-year-old said.
“My routing looks OK. If go further out this side and then tack I should be off. Jean looks like he will just be sucked closer to the coast. And even if it went horribly wrong on this side I still have a lot of runway, and this is giving me a bit of space on the boats behind.”
The first finishers are expected to arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne around the end of January after three months at sea.