HAMPSHIRE yachtsman Alex Thomson has pulled out of the Vendée Globe race.

Thomson was forced to return to port on Tuesday after his boat Hugo Boss II started taking on water.

The Gosport skipper was one of 30 who left Les Sables D'Olonne on Sunday in the 24,000-mile Vendée Globe race.

But after a tough first 36 hours of racing Thomson, from Gosport, was forced to return to the French marina after discovering a crack in his yacht Hugo Boss's hull.

Race rules state competitors can return to the start port and make repairs within a ten-day window.

This afternoon Thomson announced his yacht would not be able to be repaired in time for a restart.

Thomson said: “They think that the repairs are going take a matter of weeks not a matter of days, so it means I’m out of the race, that that’s, the end.

“So four years and this is where we get to, it’s very disappointing.

“But enough’s enough, we’ve looked at it and if there was a possibility of fixing it we’d fix it.

“Apparently there isn’t a possibility.”

Thomson’s campaign was thrown into jeopardy when Hugo Boss II was hit by a French fishing boat as it arrived in Les Sables just two weeks before the race start.

Thomson and his team spent two weeks working solidly to make the start line.

Thomson added: “It’s just awful, not just for me but the team.

“We worked really hard and built a new boat, just to get ready for this one race, and to be out of it just three days in just doesn’t feel right at all.

“It feels very hard to be back here again.

“It’s gutting, I feel very sad not only for me, but also my sponsors and the team.

“These things happen in sailing, you just have to pick yourself up and move forward.

“My Vendée dreams are not over.”