British sailor Alex Thomson looks set to join him on the podium

French sailor François Gabart won the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe solo round-the-world yacht race in a record time.

He crossed the finishing line yesterday at 15 hours 18 minutes 40 seconds, French time, setting a new solo round-the-world record of 78 day, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds – beating Michel Desjoyeaux’s record by 6 day 00 hours 53 minutes.

Gabart’s final race time was 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes 40 seconds. His average speed was 15.3 knots and covering 28,646.55 miles.

Frenchman Armel Le Cléac’h claimed second place just 3

hours 17minutes 12 seconds behind Gabart yesterday – marking the smallest gap

between the winner and the second in the Vendée Globe history.

While British sailor Alex Thomson is on course to finish in third place tomorrow.

Thomson, 38, edged into a podium position when French sailor Jean-Pierre Dick lost his keel in the north Atlantic last week.

Thomson altered his course to offer assistance to Dick, who was in danger of capsizing in big seas, which Dick described as a ‘very selfless thing to do for a sailor’.

He added: ‘It was really nice of him and I am proud to be entrusting him with my third place.’

Dick, who has a damaged boat, has vowed not to stop in the Azores.

He intends to continue ‘at least until Portugal’ and if the weather conditions allow, he will try to complete the Vendée Globe. 

Garbart, at 29, is the youngest Vendée Globe winner ever. Alain Gautier was 30 years old when he won the 1992-1993 edition in 110 days and 2 hours. What a difference a decade makes.

Here’s more key figures from this year’s winner:

Longest distance covered in 24 hours: December 10, 545 miles at an average speed of 22.7 knots.
Number of rankings with Gabart leading: (5 rankings a day): 234
Days spent leading the race: 44 days 20 hours
Les Sables to Equator: 11 days 00 hours 20 min (Jean Le Cam’s 2004-2005 record: 10 days 11 hours 28 min)
Equator to Good Hope: 12 days 03 hours 25 min (JP Dick’s record: 12 day 02 hour 40min)
Good Hope to Cape Leeuwin: 11 days 06 hours 40 min (new record)
Cape Leeuwin to Cape Horn: 17 days 18 h 35mn (new record)
Cape Horn to Equator: 13 days 19 hours
Equator to Les Sables: 12 days 01 hour 37 minutes

Find out more about the race at www.vendeeglobe.org