Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson is named the 2017 Yachtsman of the Year


British IMOCA 60 sailor Alex Thomson was named the YJA’s Yachtsman of the Year this week. He received the famous trophy at the London Boat Show today, Thursday 11 January.

Thomson, 43, finished 2nd in the single-handed round the world race, equalling Dame Ellen MacArthur’s result in 2001 as the best ever finish by a British sailor.

In the 2016-2017 edition Thomson on Hugo Boss also set the fastest times from the start at Les Sables d’Olonne, France to the Equator (9 days 7 hrs 2mins) and the Cape of Good Hope (17 days 22 hrs 58 mins) as well as a 24 hour solo monohull record of 537 nautical miles – an average boatspeed of 22.4 knots.

On Day 13 of the race his IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss hit an unidentified object, snapping off the yacht’s starboard foil. The damage severely hampered his progress over the rest of the 27,000 mile course, but despite this and continued problems with his autopilot, in a remarkable display of skill and determination Thomson finished the race with the second fastest time on record – 74 days 19 h 35 min 15 sec – just 16 hours behind French winner Armel Le Cléac’h, also setting a new British record for a solo circumnavigation.

Alex Thomson being welcomed back to Les Sables d Olonne by Vendée Globe winner Armel Le Cléac’h. Photo: Lloyd Images

Continues below…

Alex Thomson and his long-standing title backers Hugo Boss are in the process of putting together a campaign for the 2020 Vendee Globe. Thomson recently confirmed that will include the design of a new IMOCA 60, with which he will be hoping to go one better than his 2nd place in 2017, which was in turn a step up the podium from his 2013 3rd place finish.

At the London Boat Show his team announced that Opihr Gin was being added to Thomson’s list of backers, and that they were looking for additional partners for the next IMOCA cycle –  Thomson has been renowned for both very well funded and high profile campaigns, peaking with his famous mastwalk, keelwalk and skywalk stunt videos.

The Yachtsman of the Year Award is voted for by members of the Yachting Journalist’s Association, and sees Thomson join an elite group of yachtsman that includes Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Ben Ainslie.

Fellow nominees this year were world No 1 ranked 49er duo Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, who won gold in a particularly challenging World Championships in Porto, Portugal, and Moth World Champion Paul Goodison, who defeated a fleet of exceptional calibre, with America’s Cup skippers and more Olympic medallists than any other regatta with exception of the Olympic Games itself.

The YJA Young Yachtsman of the Year Award was presented to 17-year-old Montel Fagan-Jordan, who was a leading part of the Grieg City Academy’s 2017 Rolex Fastnet campaign, helming the school yacht Scaramouche for much of the offshore.