British solo sailor Alex Thomson leaves UK for Velux 5 Oceans race later today 26/9/06

British solo sailor Alex Thomson will depart UK shores for the start of the Velux 5 Oceans race later today. Thomson will step aboard his Open 60Hugo Bossat Gosport and set sail for Bilbao at 1400.

At 32 Thomson is the youngest skipper competing in the race, while fellow British sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, aged 67, is the oldest in the fleet of top-flight skippers. Thomson began his sailing career as Sir Robin’s protégé and became the youngest skipper ever to win a round-the-world yacht race, aged 25. He holds the current 24-hour solo monohull World Speed Record and aims to become the first skipper to complete ‘3 in 3’: Three round the world races in the next three years, culminating in the Vendée Globe in 2008.

The Velux 5 Oceans Race starts from Bilbao, Spain on 22 October.