ALEX Thomson arrived into Les Sable d’Olonne, France, last Wednesday after successfully finishing the Ocean Masters New York to Vendée Race in third place.

Crossing the finishing line at 18:43 CEST, Thomson completed the race in 9 days, 21 hours, 3 minutes and 34 seconds to secure a place on the podium.

“This is a fantastic achievement, not only for me but for the entire team,” he smiled.

The Ocean Masters New York to Vendée Race is a 3,100 mile single-handed sprint from downtown New York across the Atlantic to Les Sables D’Olonne.

 It is the penultimate challenge before the all-important Vendée Globe, which begins in November.

Thomson led for the majority of the race, positioning himself ahead of the 13 other competitors in the fleet and, at times, outpacing them.

However, during the skipper’s fifth night offshore, he experienced difficulties with the autopilot system on board his IMOCA 60 race boat, Hugo Boss, and was forced to work through the night to make emergency repairs.

Operating on little sleep in winds of over 40 knots, Thomson was able to make the vital repairs before fighting his way back to a podium position.

The last few days of the race saw Thomson, together with rival race boats Maitre Coq and Edmond de Rothschild, switch positions as each fought to secure a top-three spot.

By finishing the race third, Thomson has positioned himself as a firm contender to win the upcoming Vendée Globe.

“Just weeks ago the boat was in the shed, undergoing major repairs.” continued Thomson.

“Today we crossed the finish line in third place in what was an incredibly challenging race.

"This is a superb achievement and a testament to the hard work of the whole team.”

Prior to the New York to Vendée Race, Thomson had been forced to retire from November's Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) event after his race boat had been capsized by a rogue wave in the Atlantic.

The setback forced him and his team to spend months making significant repairs to the boat, which had only recently been unveiled following a two- year-long design and build process.

Now, the British skipper has his sights firmly set on the non-stop, unassisted round the world Vendée Globe race, known to most as ‘The Everest of sailing’.

The gruelling 25,000 nautical mile race takes place every four years and, to date, has only ever been won by a French competitor.

This time around, however, with a podium finish in the New York to Vendée under his belt, Thomson is confident he can make history and become the first British skipper to claim victory.

“This result has put us in a fantastic position ahead of the Vendée Globe.” he said.

“We are incredibly confident that we have built a racing yacht which is capable of winning the Vendée and its performance in this race has only reinforced that.”

Team CEO, Stewart Hosford, added: “I believe we have demonstrated as a team that we have the ability to be the first British Team to win the Vendée Globe.

"It is the toughest sporting challenge left on the planet.

"We are disappointed that we had difficulties with some of the systems on-board. However I am pleased Alex has battled on and ensured a podium position for himself, the sponsors and the team.”