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Yachtsman set to break world record

A British yachtsman is just hours away from breaking the world record for completing the fastest circumnavigation of the world in any type of yacht.

Southampton-based Brian Thompson, 49, is the only British crew member on board the Banque Populaire V, a 40-metre maxi-trimaran, which is expected to cross the Jules Verne Trophy finish line at Brest, France, tonight at 10.30pm GMT.

The yacht's 14-strong crew, hailing from a number of countries, are on course to smash the existing record by nearly three days.

The crew are fast approaching the finish line at 33 knots and look set to complete the Jules Verne Trophy ahead of the current record held by Groupama 3, which stands at 48 days 7 hours 44 minutes and 52 seconds.

The crew aboard Banque Populaire V have already broken four speed records on this sprint around the globe - one to the equator, one to the Cape of Good Hope, one to Cape Leeuwin, and one from equator to equator.

Upon completion, Mr Thompson will become the first Briton to circumnavigate the globe non-stop for a fourth time, beating existing records held by fellow sailors Dee Caffari MBE and Mike Golding OBE.

Mr Thompson, who has sailed hundreds of thousands of miles with American adventurer Steve Fossett, said the crew are in great spirits as they head towards their world record.

"Our goal was to set a new world record and, if we do, it will be true testament to the hard work of the entire crew over the last 45 days.

"I am very much looking forward to stepping back on land and we have timed it just right to miss the last of the leftover Christmas turkey," he said.

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