YOTY 2017 Winner

British round the world sailor Alex Thomson returned to the UK to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year trophy  at the London Boat Show for his remarkable performance in last year’s Vendée Globe solo round the world race.

The 43-year-old Welshman from Hampshire, not only set the fastest times from the start at Les Sables d’Olonne, France to the Equator  (9 days 7hrs 2mins) and the Cape of Good Hope (17 days 22hrs 58 mins) but a 24 hour solo monohull record of 537 nautical miles – an average of 22.4 knots.

Joining an elite group of yachtsman that includes Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Ben Ainslie, Thomson’s tenacity shone through on Day 13 of the race in overcoming a near-terminal setback when his Open 60 yacht Hugo Boss hit an unidentified object, snapping off the yacht’s starboard foil. The damage severely hampered his progress over the rest of the 27,000 mile course, but despite this and continued problems with his autopilot, Thomson still finished the race with the second fastest time on record – 74 days 19 h 35 min 15 sec – just 16 hours behind French winner Armel Le Cléac’h, setting a new British record for an East/west solo circumnavigation.