So it’s not quite the gargantuan challenge of a solo round the world mission but, nonetheless, the Round the Island race is a hearty old challenge that requires strength, teamwork and the ability to navigate through busy, fickle waters.
This weekend some of the biggest names in British sailing took to the sea, joining a fleet of some 1,500 boats, to race around the Isle of Wight.
The JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is one of the biggest yacht races in the world, and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK, behind the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs. The 40 nautical mile course is a highlight of the Cowes calendar and is a spectacle that visitors travel for miles, year on year, to watch and even to participate in themselves.
For us, the Round the Island was a particularly special race, for it marked the first competitive return to water for British sailor Alex Thomson, following his record breaking solo mission around the world in the gruelling Vendee Globe earlier this year.
And so Alex returned to HUGO BOSS; this time with the support of a crew with sea sense and strength by the bucket load. He was also joined onboard by Nick Pitt, an incredibly talented sports writer for The Sunday Times, who so pertinently went on to document his experience onboard HUGO BOSS as an honorary member of team Thomson.
It was, in fact, Nick who brought home to us the message of just how big a challenge the Vendee Globe is for one man, taking on the dangers of the sea alone.
“And here is the difference between a taste of extreme sailing and the real thing. Yesterday Thomson had five men to help and raced for four hours. In the Vendee he sails alone, is trained to sleep for never more than 30 minutes at a time and reckons to go round the world in 80 days.”
Now every other race will be a walk in the park, surely!
Next stop…..the Fastnet!
With thanks to Nick Pitt and The Sunday Times.