Round the world Gosport sailor joined by top model for charity challenge

Alex Thomson, left, shows model Oliver Cheshire the ropes during the Artemis Challenge. Inset: Alex and Oliver before the race. Picture: Lloyd Images
Alex Thomson, left, shows model Oliver Cheshire the ropes during the Artemis Challenge. Inset: Alex and Oliver before the race. Picture: Lloyd Images
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A Gosport-based sailor was joined by top model Oliver Cheshire for Cowes Week’s annual charity race, the Artemis Challenge.

Alex Thomson joined the Hugo Boss model for the 50-mile race which brings together some of the biggest names in sailing from across Britain and Europe.

The pair battled torrential rain to finish the race fourth, narrowly missing out on the £10,000 prize, which would have been donated to a charity of their choosing.

The duo competed in the race on board Alex’s IMOCA 60 boat, which the sailor had previously used during the 2012/13 Vendee Globe – a non-stop single handed round-the-world race – in which he finished third.

Oliver, the former face of Calvin Klein, said: ‘I was amazed to learn that this is the boat that Alex sailed around the world solo in.

‘I was ready for dry land again after four hours, so I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to spend the best part of three months alone at sea on a boat like that.’

Alex said that the Artemis Challenge is one of the highlights of Cowes Week and was really proud at how well his team mate adapted to different situations at sea.

He said: ‘Oliver was a great sport who wasn’t afraid to get stuck in and do what he could to help speed us around the island.

‘The conditions were dreadful out there with torrential rain battering us most of the way around.

‘But all in all, it was a brilliant event to be a part of.

Despite missing out on the number one spot, Alex’s sponsor Hugo Boss donated £3,000 to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity as a way of thanking their celebrity guest.

‘The money raised will help this amazing charity continue to provide world-class care to their young patients,’ added Alex

‘It will help pioneer new treatments and cures for childhood illnesses.’

The Artemis Challenge, which is sponsored by Artemis Investment Management, has long attracted a whole host of high-profile names, with celebrities such as Ewan McGregor and Davina McCall previously joining Alex during the challenge.