Gosport pupils given talk by sailing star Alex Thomson

IT'S not every day that students get an inspiring talk from one of a sport's most iconic stars.

Saturday, 24th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:46 pm
Alex Thomson with Megan Eddles, Sophie Smith and Danni Crutcher, who took part in this summer's Gosport Marine Futures project

However, students from Brune Park Community School and Bay House School, both in Gosport, were lucky to have an afternoon with round-the-world sailor Alex Thomson.

Alex, 42, of Gosport, finished third in the Vendee Globe in 2013, a race in which he sailed single-handedly around the globe in just 80 days and was the fastest Brit.

Students were given an insight into his career and found out how they could start sailing themselves even if they’ve had no previous experience.

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Stephen Shaw, the innovation and development manager at Brune Park, said: ‘The talk was about inspiring the kids here about Alex’s experience and also giving them an opportunity to get into sailing.

‘Sailing doesn’t just mean getting out on the water. Students would be able to learn valuable skills such as teamwork and patience.’

During the summer, Gosport Marine Scene started its Marine Futures Programme which gave 10 youngsters who had no experience the chance to learn to sail on keel boats and yachts.

Alex said: ‘I started out sailing at Stokes Bay in 1988. There are plenty of young sailing clubs which welcome young people and we are blessed by having so many.

‘Many may want to find out more as there is a real opportunity to get out on the water and get a foothold in the sport.

‘There are various things people can do like programmes such as water sports.’

Alex is looking to better his last effort in the Vendee Globe. It’s his fourth attempt at winning the prize and sets sail from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France on November 6.

He said: ‘We’ve been working hard for the last few years and it’s all systems go.’