Alex Thomson on the high seas (Vincent Keiner)
Blog Words : Insider Secrets | 24 September

Where competitive sailors go to unwind and sail for pleasure

As he embarks on a three month long, solo race around the world, super sailor Alex Thomson reveals the places he likes to sail for fun and relaxation

Alex Thomson is regarded as one of the most talented sailors of his generation. He is the youngest sailor ever to win a round the world race and has already broken three world records in sailing. This November, he will be competing in the Vendée Globe, regarded as one of the toughest round-the-world races and one he came third in back in 2012/13.

As he prepares to head off on a non-stop, three-month, 30,000-mile solo lap of the globe, battling huge waves, fierce storms and day after day of endless ocean, Alex reveals the places he likes to take his family sailing.

A deserted beach in Antipaxos (Dreamstime)

A deserted beach in Antipaxos (Dreamstime)

1. Antipaxos, Greece

Whilst it’s not the biggest of the Greek islands, Antipaxos boasts two of the best white sand beaches in the Ionian Sea. The region is known for its superb wine and hospitable locals and you only have to visit one of the island’s stunning tavernas to experience both. Whenever we go to Greece as a family, I make sure we stop off in Antipaxos. Voutoumi Beach is a beautiful anchorage and is worth a visit if you’re sailing in the Ionian.

Beach bath leading to Illetas Paradise beach (Dreamstime)

Beach bath leading to Illetas Paradise beach (Dreamstime)

2. Formentera, Ibiza 

The majority of those that go to Ibiza do so for the fashionable nightlife, but I am not ashamed to admit I’ve never visited one of the nightclubs! When I go to the island, I will stay with friends that live on the north coast. My tip would be to travel to Formentera for a day out – the little island is so picturesque, really peaceful and you can witness breathtaking sunsets. Last time I was in Ibiza I went to a great bar called the Gecko Beach Club.

Gorey and Mount Orgueil Castle, Jersey (Dreamstime)

Gorey and Mount Orgueil Castle, Jersey (Dreamstime)

3. Les Écréhous, Jersey

Jersey is my favourite of the Channel Islands because several members of my family are based there permanently. The fishing off the coast in the Les Ecréhous islets is superb; we use a wooden fishing hut whenever we go that my grandfather built. I still have family in the Channel Islands and when we visit, if we eat out we tend to go to The Crab Shack or the Oyster Box – try the lobster! 

Cala Consara, Sardinia (Dreamstime)

Cala Consara, Sardinia (Dreamstime)

4. Sardinia, Italy

For an early autumn escape, I would pick Sardinia. Sailing around the island never disappoints, with beautiful white sand coves, especially so in the north east – it’s like being in the Caribbean! Sardinia is certainly my favourite of the Italian islands to explore. The Port Cervo Yacht Club is a pretty impressive place.

Yachts sailing in the Grand Harbour, Malta (Dreamstime)

Yachts sailing in the Grand Harbour, Malta (Dreamstime)

5. Valletta, Malta

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, I always enjoy passing through Malta whenever I’m racing. The country’s capital, Valletta, is absolutely beautiful and has some marvelous architecture to admire. The coastline boasts vast bays, caves and secluded beaches. If you get a chance Republic Square is worth a visit.

Alex Thomson is sponsored by Hugo Boss. You can follow his progress in the Vendee Globe at alexthomsonracing.com

  

Main image: Alex Thomson on the high seas (Vincent Keiner)