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The Many Faces Of Sailing Legend Alex Thomson

Alex Thomson: The Stunt Man

Like many, the first I saw of Alex Thomson was his incredible mast walk. With adrenaline building music we saw the helm heel the boat right over, which was Alex’s cue to walk up the mast (wearing a classic Hugo Boss suit), before diving approx. 30 metres from the top of the mast in to the sea. He then went on to do various other publicity stunts for his key sponsor, Hugo Boss. Including the keel walk, and the Sky Walk. Watch the mast walk below…

Alex Thomson: The Winning Clipper Race Skipper

Alex is still the youngest ever Skipper to have won the Clipper Race. Winning the infamous race in the 1998/99 edition, at the young age of 25, it was actually the Clipper Race that propelled Alex in to the world of professional sailing.

” It wasn’t until Sir Robin Knox-Johnston gave me the opportunity to sail a boat around the world in the Clipper Race, which my team and I won, that I even realized the path of professional sailing was an option to me.”

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Alex Thomson was the winning skipper on the Clipper Race 1998/99 Image: Alex Thomson Facebook @AlexThomsonRacing

The Clipper Race is a gruelling race around the globe. There are typically 12 matched boats in the race, and the thing that makes the race different to all other RTW races; the crew are all amateurs. The only professional sailor on-board is the Skipper. To take on the 25,000 nm navigation is gruelling enough, but to do so with 18-20 amateurs sailors as your crew, in a race against 11 other boats is a huge task and responsibility. To do this at 25 years old, AND WIN is nothing short of incredible.

Alex Thomson: Vendee Globe Winner?

Currently mid-Atlantic, Alex set off on the 2016 edition of the Vendee Globe 8 days ago with just one clear goal in mind –  “To Win”. And with that mantra his first couple of days sailing saw him take a clear lead. However a tactical error caused him to lose wind and he fell back to 9th place. After posting a video in which he was really kicking himself, Alex was flooded with messages telling him to ‘get back on with the job’ and not to ponder over one mistake.

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Will Alex Thomson become the first Englishman to win the Vendee Globe? Image: Alex Thomson Facebook @AlexThomsonRacing

Since then Alex hasn’t looked back. Aboard Hugo Boss, his super light-weight and highly technical foil boat, he’s steamed ahead to the front of the fleet of 28 boats to take the lead. He took the dreaded Doldrums in his stride and is now clear, even gaining miles on the nearest boat in the process. Alex is now 91nm in the lead and is heading towards a nice pocket of wind in the South, which should see him make further gains.

It is, of course still early days, but the UK sailing community is well and truly behind Alex. If he wins the solo RTW race, then he will make history as the first ever Englishman to win the race.

To follow Alex Thomson’s Vendee Globe 2016 campaign click here.

Have you been following the Vendee Globe? I’d love to hear what you think of the competition so far, and hear your predictions on how you think it might pan out! Leave your comments below.

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