Alex Thomson unveils new Hugo Boss boat for Vendee Globe glory
Sailor Alex Thomson has unveiled the boat he believes will make him the first Briton to win the coveted Vendee Globe round-the-world yacht race.
Thomson, from Gosport, and his design team have been working for two years on his new Hugo Boss yacht, which is 5% lighter than the previous version.
The 41-year-old's target is victory in the Vendee Globe from November 2016.
"Preparation is key. Today is about learning, in a year's time it's about winning." he told BBC South Today.
Thomson finished third during the last edition of what is often dubbed "the Everest of sailing".
The Vendee Globe is a non-stop, solo, unassisted race which takes around three months to complete.
Welsh-born Thomson will put the new yacht through its paces in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to South America later this month with co-skipper Guillermo Altadill.
"We're extremely excited as the boat took a year and 40,000 man-hours to build, but we're also quite nervous," Thomson added.
"The first time we'll find out if the boat is fast enough is at the first race in three weeks' time. She seems to be going well and she looks the part.
"Whether she'll be reliable enough, we'll have to wait."
His third place at the last Vendee Globe in January 2013 made Thomson only the third Briton to finish on the event's podium after Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding, in 2001 and 2005 respectively.
In just over a year's time, he wants to stand on top spot.
"The Vendee Globe has been my life for 12 years," he said.
"The whole team are focused on that job and this boat gives us a tremendous platform."