Alex Thomson from Wales showed a talent for watersports from a young age. His first venture into offshore sailing was after the death of his mother. He was offered the opportunity to deliver a yacht at Palma, and the rest is sailing history.
Someone who played a significant role in his early sailing career was Sir Keith Mills, a businessman with a profound interest in sport. His backing saw Thomson break into the professional sailing circuit, becoming the youngest competitor ever to win the Thomson’s Clipper Race (1999). He still holds this record. Launching himself onto the solo racing scene, he broke the 24-hour monohull distance record three times, in 2003, 2007, and 2017.
Aged just 25 he was the youngest skipper to win an around the world race. In 2013 Alex came third in the Vendee Globe. This is a gruelling single-handed, non-stop, unassisted race around the world covering 26,000 nautical miles in his round-the-world journey alone. Having come 3rd in 2013 Alex was determined he could win in Hugo Boss in the 2016/17 version.
Having started well in the 2016/17 Vendee Globe Alex’s starboard foil which is used to stablise the boat on one side broke on the 14th day of what would turn out to be a 74 day race to the finish. Despite the setback Alex learned to sail using his port side foil despite at times being up to 200 miles behind his main competitor reduced this to just 30 miles in a close finish 2nd behind Frances Armel Le Cleac’h. On the way Alex had broken the world record for the most nautical miles sailed in 24 hours at 536.81nm. Such was the media attention on the race that a BBC video taken from a helicopter of Alex racing mid-race in the South Ocean received over 6 million views!
2017: Placed 2nd in the Vendee Globe, breaking the 24-hour world distance record for sailing in the process
2013: Placed 3rd in the Vendee Globe
2012: Broke the West to east Transat record
2011: Placed in the 4th Transat B to B & placed 2nd in the Transat Jacques Vabre
2008: Retired from the Vendee Globe & placed 2nd in the Barcelona World Race
2007: Broke his 24 hours record & placed 2nd in the Rolex Fastnet Race
2006: Retired from the Velux 5 Oceans Race
2004: Retired from the Vendee Globe
2003: Broke the 24 hours distance world record & Placed 2nd in the Transat Jacques Vabre & 3rd in the Atlantic Challenge
1999: Youngest skipper, at age 25, to win an around-the-world race
But Alex is more than a sailor. He is daring doing stunts wearing Hugo Boss apparel. The most recent is one where he skywalked. His latest stunt had him, dressed in a BOSS suit, on a kiteboard and attached to his yacht, allowing the boat’s speed to lift him to a height of 280ft into the air before detaching. From there, he did a controlled descent, landing the kiteboard back on the water.
The sportsman uses his own experiences as examples, motivating audiences and sharing insights learned during the course of his sailing career.
To book or enquire about having Alex Thomson speak at an event contact ProMotivate Speakers Agency on +44 (0)2078711829.
"Although I’d love to have won I have to be happy with second place given my technical issues, and to have broken some records along the way, including a new 24hr distance record of 536.81nm. Armel sailed an incredible race, though, and after coming second twice he deserved this win. He and his team have done a wonderful job and I’m very happy for them. People tend to think of sailing as an individual sport – especially in a solo race like this – but it really is all about the team, and I owe this result to my team who worked so hard both before and throughout the race. With luck it will be my turn next time. The fire still burns!"