Alex Thomson second in Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic race

British sailor Alex Thomson finished second in the Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Costa Rica.

Thomson, 37, and co-skipper Guillermo Altadill finished in 16 days, nine hours, crossing the line 15 hours after Jean Pierre Dick and Jérémie Beyou.

"I am ecstatic. A big thank you to Guillermo," said the Hugo Boss skipper.

"I don't think the boat had the pace to beat Virbac Paprec 3. If they had sailed a different strategy then maybe we could have won."

Thomson and the vastly experienced Spaniard Altadill decided to join forces for the race in May but had only 12 days together in their Open 60 class boat before the start in France on 2 November.

The pair led the race for almost 24 hours early on but were passed by the French crew on 7 November and from then on the leading two boats were never threatened.

"It was a difficult race but I think we are both agreed that it is better to go the hard way than sit for two days with the sails going flap," added Thomson.

"Physically it was not too bad for us. The big thing for us was that we did not sleep very much."

Thomson is known as one of the fastest skippers in the Open 60 class and has set several 24-hour distance records, but he has suffered a series of breakages and retirements in recent years.

At the end of 2010 he was due to compete in the Barcelona World Race but pulled out at the last minute after undergoing emergency appendix surgery and then having his new-born son diagnosed with a heart defect.

In the 2009 edition of the biennial Transat Jacques Vabre, Thomson had to retire early after suffering hull damage north of the Azores.

He also had to retire from the 2004 and 2008 single-handed Vendee Globe around-the-world races, although earlier in 2008 he was second in the Barcelona World Race.

In 2006, his yacht lost its keel in the Southern Ocean during the Velux Five Oceans around-the-world race and he was rescued by fellow Briton Mike Golding.

Rising star Sam Goodchild, 21, and countryman Ned Collier-Wakefield were the only all-British crew in this year's Transat but retired with hull damage having just taken the lead in the Class 40 fleet.

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