Sailing: Thomson breaks record for single day

Alex Thomson, the 29-year-old Briton currently making a name for himself in solo ocean racing, broke the world 24-hour record for single-handed monohulls yesterday, claiming a distance of 466 miles.

That also put him in the lead of the Défi Atlantique race from Salvador da Bahia in Brazil, to La Rochelle in France, 10.5 miles ahead of the Frenchman Vincent Riou, with Mike Golding another 113 miles behind in third.

Thomson, whose distance will be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Records Council, beat the previous distance of 430.7 miles set by Switzerland's Dominique Wavre in December 2000 during the Southern Ocean section of the Vendee Globe. This is the event which Thomson and his rivals are hoping to qualify for and which starts from Les Sables d'Olonne next November.

They still include another Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Dick, who decided against repairing to the Cape Verde Islands after he was dismasted. Instead, he conjured up a jury rig, using his mainsail boom,and hopes to complete the 4,300-mile transatlantic crossing.

The winner is expected on Tuesday as Thomson continued to make fast progress with 1250 miles to go.

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