The solo skipper has his sights on third place in the gruelling round-the-world yacht race

Alex Thomson is into his final hours at sea as the Hugo Boss skipper

closes down on the Vendée Globe podium place he has been chasing for

more a decade.

Making a steady 16 knots over the last 24 hours Thomson

had a tough night with winds to 35 knots and has just been remaining

extra prudent, keeping his Open 60 yacht in good shape through the last miles of

the race.

Speaking on the English version of Vendée Globe LIVE, he said: ‘I just want to finish the race as safely as possible.

‘My foot is off the pedal. I am taking it easy. I don’t really care when I finish as long as I finish. 45 knots of wind in a IMOCA Open 60 is not enjoyable at all.

‘At the beginning the organisation were talking about 77 days and I thought that was ridiculous.

‘How wrong I was. To finish in third place would be absolutely awesome, especially in the boat that I have got and that is what I aiming for.

‘It’s highly unlikely that I’ll finish after 83 days but if I do it means I have a serious problem.

‘I just want to get the boat to the finish. I am going to nurse her to the finish and look forward to my cheeseburger at the end.’

The last days of Thomson’s race don’t look like they are going to be easy. He will face heavy weather in the busy shipping lanes of the Bay of Biscay.

It’s the equivalent of leaving the open road and sailing blind and fast into a three-dimensional congested super highway.

There is no rest for the British skipper, as he will have to keep his wits about him as he negotiates the extreme weather conditions, manages the galloping steed and avoids collision.

He’ll be nursing the boat indeed as the pressure mounts to an exciting conclusion and the potential British podium place in this seventh edition of the Vendée Globe.

Follow his progress online here.