Hampshire yachtsmen Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) and Mike Golding (Gamesa) have gained ground as the Vendée Globe fleet has passed through the Doldrums.

Gosport’s Thomson lies sixth, less than 30 miles behind the leader, Armel Le Cléac’h, and just 2.3 miles behind second-placed Vincent Riou.

And Golding, from Warsash, was in seventh as the Daily Echo went to press last night, having gained 120 miles on the top six after entering the low pressure system further west than the rest of the fleet.

Thomson, exhausted after his battle with the Doldrums, said: “It was like one constant squall. It was monsoon rain for seven hours straight. I had practically no wind at all, so I have been steering by hand the entire time.

“I think I am out of the Doldrums, but every time I go through the Doldrums I always think to myself: ‘now Alex, you know, whenever you think you’re out, it means that you’re not’. I get my dry clothes out and then bang, it starts all over again.

“But I do think I am now out. I am sailing upwind. I am completely exhausted but I can’t get any sleep just yet. I have the boats all around me and I can see them, so I want to stay awake at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Hamble’s Sam Davies, who was forced to pull out of the race last week after her boat, Savéol, was dismasted, is slowly sailing back to France after making temporary repairs.