Alex Thomson has taken the lead from Vincent Riou on PRB in Le Défi Atlantique and, in doing so has, subject to ratification, set a new 24-hour speed record

Alex Thomson has taken the lead from Vincent Riou on PRB in Le Défi Atlantique and, in doing so has, subject to WSSRC ratification, set a new 24-hour speed record.

He sailed 466 miles in 24 hours, beating the existing record by around 35.3 miles. Thomson covered 466 nautical miles from yesterday at 0444GMT when he was at 29deg 58.20N 31deg 01 320W and 0442GMT today when he was at 35deg 05.32N 24deg 00.96W

The official record held by the WSSRC was set by Dominique Wavre aboard Union Banque Prive during the last Vendee Globe. This stands at 430.70nm, although Roland Jourdain on board Sill – the same boat Thomson is currently racing – is known to have bettered this distance but it was never ratified.

To put this into context Illbruck’s best daily run fully crewed during the Volvo Ocean Race was 484 miles. This fully-crewed monohull record was broken in October by Mari Cha IV who set a new benchmark of 525.7 miles. The present singlehanded multihull 24-hour record is held by Laurent Bourgnon who covered 540 miles during his record breaking singlehanded crossing of the Atlantic in 1994.

Speaking about his achievement on his satellite phone this morning Thomson commented: “My main objective was to regain the lead of the race, so I pushed reasonably hard from my westerly position, and over the last four days have enjoyed exceptional sailing conditions south of the Azores. I knew I could be on for the record yesterday afternoon when I was sure that I was well positioned in this band of strong wind. So to find out this morning that I have passed into the lead of a fleet made up of the best Open 60 skippers on the circuit is superb, but to have broken the 24-hour solo record – and by so much – is an amazing bonus. All I need now is a sponsor! If someone had told me before I could average over 19 knots boat speed for that long I’d tell them they were lying, but now I know I can get more out of the boat!

“I’m absolutely knackered! I’ve been running on adrenaline and spending at least 70 per cent of my time on deck, surviving on tuna and Hellmann’s sarnies, a lot of Lucozade Sport. This doesn’t distract me from the goal of this race, to finish the race and qualify for the Vendée Globe, but I’m enjoying the extras along the way!”

Latest positions

1 Alex THOMSON N345704 W0241084, 0 1257.0

2 Vincent RIOU N340700 W0231912, 1259.2

3 Mike GOLDING N322110 W0243791, 1380.9

4 Sébastien JOSSE N310956 W0245316, 1442.6

5 Nick MOLONEY N295180 W0254328, 1529.8

6 Joe SEETEN N272124 W0262884, 1672.8

7 Benoît LEQUIN N252676 W0273620, 1800.9

8 Benoît PARNAUDEAU N233952 W0294752, 1957.6

9 Anne LIARDET N212504 W0295776, 2073.8

10 Jean Pierre DICK N212956 W0304628, 2095.2