HAMPSHIRE solo sailor Alex Thomson is on the brink of equalling Britain's best ever performance in the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race.

The Gosport yachtsman, 42, was more than 700 miles behind Armel Le Cleac'h of France a few weeks ago.

But he is now less than 35 nautical miles behind going into the last 24 hours of the solo round-the-world epic.

He was hoping to become the first Brit ever to win the Vendee Globe but his chances were dealt a blow 24 hours from the finish line when his anemometer, an instrument used to measure wind speed, broke.

That meant that until fixed Thomson was unable to properly use his boat's autopilot, the device that automatically steers it.

Hugo Boss skipper Thomson, who hasn't slept in two days trixing to solve the problem, said with less than 200 miles to go to the finish line his hopes of overtaking Le Cleac'h were low.

"I don't think I can catch Armel," he said. "The routing is very clear – we will go nearly to the Scilly Isles, wait for a left shift and when it comes we tack. 

"There's no real options for me any more, I think my options have run out. 

"It might be possible to catch a few miles but it's difficult for me at the moment. "Until I can get my autopilot driving on a wind angle it'll be very tricky in the conditions I have. I can't imagine another few days like the last couple of days. 

"I don't care about the finish right now, I just want to sleep."

If Thomson finishes second he will equal the best ever result of a British sailor in the race set by Dame Ellen MacArthur in 2001.

Twenty nine skippers set sail from Les Sables d'Olonne in France in the Vendee Globe.

If Thomson finishes tomorrow he will have completed the race in 75 days, three days quicker than the current race record.