After three months alone at sea, Earthwatch ambassador Brian Thompson is nearing the end of the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race, the toughest challenge of solo sailing.
The record-breaking yachtsman is in fifth position on board the Bahrain Team Pindar's Open 60 yacht, and is nearing the end of his 28,000-mile journey. He is expected to reach the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne in France, this weekend.
During the voyage Brian has even found the time to record sightings of marine life for Earthwatch, and he has been helping to raise awareness of the Earthwatch oceans programme.
Known as the ‘Everest of the Seas', the race has provided no shortage of drama, living up to its reputation as one of the world's most arduous sporting and adventure challenges. With just 11 of the 30 boats on the start line set to complete the race, there have been two major rescues in the Southern Ocean, where skippers faced the most treacherous waters on the planet.
Finishing the Vendée Globe is a remarkable achievement, and if Brian remains in fifth position, he will be the 53rd sailor to do so. One of the most experienced sailors in the world, Brian has been tested to the limit during his gruelling journey round the world. He has had to contend with major repair works, the notorious Southern Ocean and the biggest storm of the race.
Brian says, "I am cautious about commenting on the finish or looking back on the journey until the race is over, but there is no doubt it has been the most remarkable experience and one I will never forget. I'm very excited about seeing my family and friends. I have two young children so the first thing I will do is give them a hug. I'm also looking forward to a juicy steak and warm bath!"
Expected to arrive on Sunday, Brian will be greeted by his wife Nathalie, two children and support team, as well as members of the French public.
• Follow Brian on his final leg of the voyage.
• Read about the Earthwatch Oceans Appeal and find out more about Earthwatch's marine projects.
Pindar and AlphaGraphics
The Pindar and AlphaGraphics businesses are committed to improving environmental standards and the partnership with Earthwatch is part of the Pindar Group's five-year Respect the Planet change management programme. In November 2007, they joined the Earthwatch Corporate Environmental Responsibility Group and generously provided Earthwatch with a charitable contribution of $100,000 USD to support its field research and education programmes. Earthwatch and Pindar share a commitment to protecting the oceans. Through its sponsorship of sailing, Pindar will help raise awareness of the Earthwatch oceans programme which comprises 18 scientific research projects studying coastal ecosystems and threatened marine species.