HIS aim is to become the fastest person to sail around the world and keen sailor Alex Alley has got off to a flying start.
He was part of a team of three who have set a new world record for sailing the length of Britain.
It was great to get a feel for it. We bonded. I feel at one with the boat now.Alex Alley, from Alverstoke
Last week, the 45-year-old from Alverstoke sailed from Land’s End to John O’Groats – 620 nautical miles – in 83hrs 53m 15s in his Class 40 Pixel Flyer.
The event was a warm-up for his challenge to break eight world records next year, which will culminate in an attempt to break the single-handed round-the-world record of 137 days, 20hrs, 1min 57secs.
He said: ‘It was a fantastic shake-down for the boat. It was really good to do this, the timing couldn’t have been better.
‘We know there’s a lot to do to the boat but it was great to get a feel for it. We bonded. I feel at one with the boat now.’
Alex sailed with Phil Sharp and Sean Conway – the only person to have run, cycled and swum the route.
They set out from Falmouth early on December 11 and fast-reaching winds saw them up by the Isle of Man, hitting speeds in excess of 20 knots, within 24 hours
Despite the strong start, the weather changed significantly and by Sunday evening the team was in calmer conditions off the west coast of Scotland.
They spent a restless night trying to coax everything out of the boat before finally crossing the line at 9pm on Monday.
Alex, who also completed the Global Challenge in 2004/05, said: ‘So many people have run, walked, cycled and even swum from Land’s End to John O’Groats, but there was never a record for sailing it, so we decided that we should set the ball rolling and establish one.
‘We hope that now other people will have a go to see if they have what it takes to sail the route. I’m sure the time will be beaten, it’s just a case of how long will it stand?’
Once the boat is back in Gosport early next year, Alex and the team will be getting ready for the next record attempt. He will also be at the London Boatshow in January.
Alex is offering people a chance to sponsor him and have their picture on the boat – called a pixel – for £25.
He said: ‘As for the boat, she performed brilliantly. The only damage was a blown Code 0 sail but I’ve not looked to see how bad it is and if it can be repaired yet.
‘On that note I am really pleased to see all the pixels still on the side of the boat, even after blasting along at 20kts for some considerable time.’
More information can be found at alexalley.com