ROUND the world yachtsman Alex Thomson will be given a hero's welcome when he returns home to Hampshire this weekend.

Thomson, who finished a close second in the Vendee Globe solo non-stop round the world yacht race, will arrive back to his home town of Gosport on Saturday (Feb 11).

Thousands of supporters are expected to turn out to watch Thomson, 42, return home on his 60ft racing yacht Hugo Boss.

Thomson will conduct a 'parade of sail' starting at Spitbank Fort in the Solent at 10.15am then sail into Portsmouth Harbour and berth at the Gosport ferry terminal.

Once on dry land he will be met by Lynn Hook, the Mayor of Gosport, in a civic reception held at Falkland Gardens at 11.20am.

Thomson completed the Vendee Globe, regarded as one of sport's toughest challenges, in 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes at sea making him the second-fastest skipper ever in the history of the race.

He is also the race's most successful ever non-French skipper.

His time broke his own race record of 80 days that he set in the 2012 edition of the race when he finished third.

In the final week of the race Thomson also smashed the solo monohull 24-hour distance record, sailing 536.81 nautical miles.

Stewart Hosford, CEO of Alex Thomson Racing, said: “We are incredibly proud of what Alex has achieved.

"A race like this is the culmination of four years of hard work, training and preparation from both Alex and the team behind the scenes.

"Alex’s second-place finish together with a number of new records is a superb achievement.

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank our sponsors, partners and supporters.

"We are looking forward to welcoming Alex and Hugo Boss back home this weekend.”