Daredevil Gosport sailor skywalks for latest stunt

GOSPORT round-the-world sailor Alex Thomson has unveiled yet another death-defying stunt '“ the skywalk.

Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 9:34 am
Alex Thomson performs his death-defying skywalk Picture: Lloyd Images

Having established himself as a sailing daredevil, this latest feat involves Thomson, on a kiteboard, chasing his IMOCA open 60 Hugo Boss boat upwind and attaching himself via a rope to the top of the boat’s mast.

The skipper then utilises the speed of the race yacht to propel himself 280ft into the air, sending him surfing above the boat.

When Thomson reaches the peak of his flight, he detaches himself from the boat and expertly controls his descent back down, landing the kiteboard on the water in true Alex Thomson style – all while wearing a stylish Boss suit.

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With a passion for pushing himself to the limit – and having previously executed two other death-defying challenges out on the water – solo skipper Thomson was keen to complete the trilogy of stunts.

The skywalk was carried out by Alex Thomson Racing, in partnership with sponsors Hugo Boss and Mercedes-Benz.

In total, 35 people were involved in the planning, co-ordination and execution of the stunt, including Alex Thomson Racing operations manager Ross Daniel, professional kite-surfer Susi Mai and kite-surfing coach Ray Kasper.

Having safely returned to dry land, Thomson said: ‘The previous two stunts that we carried out – the mastwalk and the keelwalk – were so successful that, as a team, we just knew we couldn’t stop there.

‘We were all in agreement – we wanted to do something even bigger and better.

‘I’ve always had a love for all things wind-powered, so naturally a stunt which involved kite surfing was the next step.

‘The idea of combining two of my favourite sports and executing something which, to our knowledge, had never been done before was really exciting.

‘The team and I have been planning the stunt for a long time.

‘There were lots of things that could have gone wrong.

‘Perhaps most concerning for the team was the prospect of an uncontrolled descent, causing me to come back down too fast.

‘Water can be as hard as concrete if hit with enough velocity, so this was one of the most dangerous aspects of the stunt.

‘But I had a brilliant team around me and, with their help, we managed to pull it off.’

This is the third daring stunt to be unveiled by the 41-year-old yachtsman and his team.

Thomson will compete in the pinnacle event of the Ocean Masters race calendar – the Vendée Globe – later this year, a race which begins on November 6.

The non-stop, solo, unassisted, round-the-world race takes approximately 80 days to complete.

In the last edition of the race, back in 2013, Thomson finished in third place.

This time around he is determined to be the first Brit to win the prestigious title.