Thomson is ready for big test in China

Sir Francis Chichester on Gipsy Moth IV.

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ALEX THOMSON is ready for the first-ever Shanghai International Regatta.

The event will be held between July 10 and July 12.

It will be the first time in 140 years that racing has been held on the Huangpu River.

Gosport sailor Thomson will form part of Team Great Britain.

They will take on teams from around the world in a much-anticipated match-racing competition.

Alongside Thomson, Stokes Bay’s International Moth sailor Chris Rashley will also be competing at the event.

The five-time European champion has expressed his delight at being involved in this pioneering project, as he aims to claim victory.

‘I am very much looking forward to competing in the Shanghai International Regatta,’ said Rashley.

‘I have been privileged to sail in some amazing places in my career, so to be one of the first professional sailors to compete on the Huangpu River is a fantastic.’

With leading Chinese Asset Management firm ZhongJin named as sponsors, hopes are high the regatta can become a leading sailing event across the globe.

For Five West chief executive officer Stewart Hosford, this is the culmination of almost three years of negotiations.

Hosford said: ‘This is groundbreaking stuff for us and China, and it’s exciting bringing sailing to the heart of a city like Shanghai.

‘We’ve been working on this for many years, back and forth, and are super excited about launching this series.

‘We hope to stage the international regatta on an annual basis – and for it to become a globally-recognised event on the annual sailing calendar.

Alex Thomson Racing have also been awarded the BT Sports Industry Award for best use of PR for the #MastWalk campaign that saw the skipper take a dramatic dive from the tip of the Hugo Boss mast.

The stunt has been an internet sensation, gaining more than a million views within a matter of days.

Philip Burghaus, marketing manager from Hugo Boss, praised the achievement.

Burghaus said: ‘We did not expect to win this award but as a major sponsor of sailing, we believe sailing as a sport provides outstanding sponsorship value as demonstrated tonight.’