I as soon as capsized a tiny catamaran – one thing which is outwardly just about not possible – and on a college journey whereas canoeing with my trainer on a lake, as a result of I struggled with the steering, we ended up going round in circles for a worrying period of time.
So after I was invited to have a crack at crusing Alex Thomson’s £5million round-the-world yacht – the Hugo Boss – I took on the problem with delicate trepidation. Hopefully I would not result in its demise.
On boarding the slick-looking carbon fibre vessel in Portsmouth – which Alex used final 12 months to hurry world wide single-handedly in 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes – I rapidly realized there was no bathroom, the kitchen consisted of a fuel burner, and crusing at velocity would require all palms on deck.
MailOnline Journey’s Sadie Whitelocks, pictured, had a go at crusing Alex Thomson’s £5million round-the-world yacht. Above, she is pictured crusing the vessel within the Solent
Alex sped world wide single-handedly on the Hugo Boss final 12 months in 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes
Fortunately it was a windy day and Alex was clearly excited concerning the blustery circumstances.
Whereas the 44-year-old sailed the 60ft yacht alone within the 2017 Vendée Globe race, by which he got here second, on the day I boarded, we have been accompanied by a crew to take the stress off. Phew!
Earlier than we left the marina and issues bought wobbly, the British yachtsman gave me a tour of his boat.
He defined that to attenuate its weight, the aerodynamic construction has very simple interiors.
The deck outdoors options angled grips on the ground to forestall Alex from slipping and sliding in uneven circumstances whereas the stomach of the boat is a cavernous house, taking part in host to a storage space and makeshift mattress.
Alex has been crusing since a toddler. He’s planning to try the Vendée Globe around-the-world race once more in 2020 in a bid to attain first place
Sadie has a go at ‘grinding’. This exercise required her to bicycle a wheel round utilizing her arm energy to manage the sails
Alex confirmed me the kitchen, which consisted of a tiny space with slightly fuel canister mounted into place.
He makes use of the piece of equipment to boil water and rustle up meals from dehydrated and freeze-dried meals packs whereas he is dashing alongside. A real grasp of multi-tasking.
One in every of his favorite delicacies whereas he is racing on the excessive seas is a beef and cheese casserole, whereas chunks of Parmesan, slithers of Spanish ham and peanuts are different good sources of vitality.
When he is within the midst of circumnavigating the globe – a feat he has completed thrice and is because of undertake once more in 2020 – he can eat as much as 7,000 energy a day.
He joked: ‘That is the equal of 14 Large Macs however in some way I all the time come again lighter. I misplaced 100lbs on my final race.’
The mattress, in the meantime, is merely a flat floor he flings a mattress on. Alex says that he sleeps as little as potential when he is racing however tries to get sufficient kip so he could make rational choices.
He tends to nap for between 5 minutes and one hour, however not.
To verify he would not oversleep, placing him at hazard of veering off beam, Alex has a particularly loud industrial-style alarm, which nearly deafens me when he switches it on.
The yacht’s kitchen consists of a tiny space with slightly fuel canister mounted into place, pictured. Alex makes use of the piece of equipment to boil water and rustle up meals from dehydrated and freeze-dried meals packs whereas he is dashing alongside
Together with steering and grinding, Alex spends a lot of his day whereas racing world wide analysing climate knowledge on a small laptop display screen – to ensure there aren’t any risks on the horizon
The mattress is merely a flat floor he flings a mattress on. Alex says that he sleeps as little as potential when he is racing however tries to get sufficient kip so he could make rational choices. He tends to nap for between 5 minutes and one hour, however not
On the bathroom entrance, Alex makes use of a bucket that has a large physique and a slender neck, to forestall any spills. The contents are then thrown overboard.
After a speedy tour of the sportsman’s boat, we bought occurring the water.
Watching the boat come alive was fairly an impressive present, with Alex directing the crew to get the sails lifted.
After a mild begin out of the harbour, immediately we have been off.
At one level, because of the sturdy wind, we managed to succeed in a velocity of 29 miles an hour – the boat reaches a most of 40mph when it is at full pelt.
One of many scariest issues while you’re on the boat, is the best way it leans at an excessive angle because it cuts by the waves. However because of hydrofoils (wing-like fins on the stomach), the vessel by no means ideas up.
After getting suitably drenched by water gushing over the deck, I had a go at ‘grinding’. This exercise required me to bicycle a wheel round utilizing my arm energy in a bid to manage the sails.
Alex says he does this 5 to 6 instances a day when he is racing. I felt suitably exhausted after one spherical of grinding and the considered extra stuffed me with dread.
After a little bit of an arm exercise, I had a go at steering.
To reduce weight, the aerodynamic yacht has very simple interiors. The deck outdoors options angled grips on the ground to forestall Alex from slipping and sliding in uneven circumstances whereas the stomach of the boat is a cavernous house
What’s the Vendée Globe race?
- The Vendée Globe is the toughest and most well-known crusing race on the planet. Nicknamed the Everest of the Seas, it includes crusing world wide alone, with out stopping and with out help, setting sail from and ending in Les Sables d’Olonne, after rounding the three legendary capes: The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Cape Leeuwin in Southern Australia and the notorious Cape Horn on the tip of South America.
- The primary Vendée Globe race, in 1968, was gained by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who crossed the end line in 312 days.
- Within the final race Alex Thomson crossed the end line in simply 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes and broke the World Document he already held because the quickest Briton to sail single-handedly, continuous world wide.
- He says 40 to 60 per cent of rivals who begin the race won’t end.
- The subsequent race will begin on Sunday 8, November 2020.
Alex knowledgeable me: ‘Should you transfer the tiller (steering stick) to the left, the boat turns proper; transfer the tiller proper, and the boat goes left.’
I used to be stunned at how delicate the steering stick was. Because the yacht immediately veered to the precise, visions of my catamaran incident got here flooding again. Fortunately, I managed to maintain issues upright this time.
Together with steering and grinding, Alex spends a lot of his day whereas racing world wide analysing climate knowledge on a small laptop display screen – to ensure there aren’t any risks on the horizon.
After a session out crusing, I used to be left with a way of awe as to how Alex does this on their lonesome.
Speaking about his occupation, the father-of-two concluded: ‘The Vendée Globe world wide race is essentially the most troublesome sport left on the planet right now. It isn’t simply bodily difficult, but additionally mentally.
‘It is only one boat and one particular person. It is much less about know-how and extra about journey. Human administration in a really excessive approach. I’ve to be the navigator, the medic, the cook dinner, the cleaner and extra whereas I am on the go.
‘It definitely is a conversation-stopper at dinner events after I inform individuals what it’s I do.’
There’s clearly no taking the wind out of Alex’s sails and his new boat for the 2020 Vendée Globe is about to be slicker and speedier than ever.
MailOnline Journey was invited to sail on the Hugo Boss by Opihr gin to have fun the launch of its three new ready-to-drink flavours. Alex Thomson is an envoy for the drinks model and it was the official sponsor of this 12 months’s Lendy Cowes Week crusing regatta.