British yachtsman Alex Thomson claims second place in Vendee Globe race

Record-breaking British sailor Alex Thomson has claimed second place in the gruelling Vendee Globe solo round-the-world yacht race.

Despite setting a new world record for the furthest distance sailed solo in 24 hours, and at one point halving the 70-mile (113km) lead of Armel Le Cleac'h, Thomson could not close the gap on his French rival, who claimed first place on Thursday afternoon.

Welshman Thomson, 42, who now lives in Gosport, Hampshire, crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne on the French Atlantic coast on Friday morning with his wife, Kate, and two children, Oscar, six, and Georgia, two, waiting to greet him after his 75 days at sea.

Le Cleac'h won the eighth edition of single-handed offshore racing's ultimate test in a record time of 74 days, three hours and 35 minutes.

That smashed the race record set by fellow Frenchman Francois Gabart four years ago by three days, 22 hours and 41 minutes - a time Thomson also bettered when crossing the line.

Organisers said Thomson's official time was 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes.

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