Suited and booted, daredevil sailor Alex rides keel of yacht

Picture: Pierandrea Guarnieri

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STANDING suited on the keel of a fast-moving yacht, Alex Thomson looks every inch like a daredevil James Bond.

The Gosport sailor hit the waves of the Solent to do a keel walk.

POSE Alex Thomson standing on the keel

POSE Alex Thomson standing on the keel

It was the second time he’d done the dangerous stunt.

After only taking pictures first time round, some people needed convincing they were for real.

So this time an amazing video was taken.

It shows him pulling up alongside the yacht on a jetski while crew members tilt the boat until its keel is revealed.

He then clambers on to it before regaining his composure, posing for a moment, then diving off back into the sea.

The 37-year-old said: ‘I knew that I’d done it but no-one else believed me because there was no video footage.

‘So we decided to do it again and prove it was real.’

Before Alex could even attempt to get on to the keel there had to be 18 knots of wind, and the yacht needed to be sailing at nine knots – 10mph – and tipped at a 45 degree angle.

Only then could he jump onto the four-ton lead keel, which if it had hit Alex would have been the equivalent of being charged at by an elephant.

He said: ‘The first time I did it I was just thinking “what am I doing”.

‘It’s easy to say yes to something like that but when I got up there I suddenly thought it might not be such a good idea. But the second time it felt a lot safer and it was amazing.

‘It’s such a strange feeling to be standing on the keel of a boat – it’s surreal.

‘I could only see in front of me and all the time I’m looking at the wind direction and thinking about how long I have before the boat comes down and I have to get off,’

A gust or drop in the wind can affect the direction and speed of the boat in an instant.

Alex could not see the boat’s skipper and he could not be seen, so relied on information given to him by a spotter.

Despite the dangers, Alex was determined to remain stylish, and wore a specially-made strengthened suit which he was sewn into.

‘It’s probably the suit that made people question it the first time round,’ Alex added. ‘But it’s so much more fun in a suit.’