Sailing single-handed nonstop around the world.
In 2016/2017, the Brit aims to win the Vendée Globe regatta – by sailing single-handed nonstop around the world. Here he talks about the fear of death, mental strength and the huge awareness of feeling infinitely small.
Sporting a beard, sunglasses and a handkerchief in the breast pocket of his suit, Alex Thomson cuts a pretty cool figure. He could be James Bond’s brother. Despite that, his legs seem a little shaky – the wind is gusting strongly. And Thomson is ten meters (33 ft) above the sea, up the mast of his yacht, which is canted at an angle of 50 degrees. The mast-runner bends his knees, jumps and dives into the water. The “mast walk” video has been viewed over 1.8 million times. This and other such antics have turned the 41-year-old Briton, who is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, into one of the world’s best-known sailors. Originally from Bangor in North Wales, Thomson made his name in 1999 as the youngest skipper ever to win a round-the-world yacht race. His career was initially promoted by Keith Mills, entrepreneur and CEO of London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
With crew member Andrew Cape, Thomson finished second in the Barcelona World Race in 2008. In 2012, he crossed the Atlantic solo in 8 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes – setting a new world record. And after finishing third in the 2012/2013 Vendée Globe, his aim is now to become the first non-Frenchman to win the world’s toughest regatta. He recently launched his new, hightech yacht – which came with a price tag of four million euros.