Q&A with Alex Thomson for Base Camp Food

British sailor Alex Thomson is one of the world’s most accomplished solo offshore sailors. Competing in the high speed, extreme IMOCA 60 class, Thomson has broken multiple records and achieved countless accolades throughout his decorated career to date. The youngest skipper ever to win a round-the-world yacht race, Thomson also holds the British solo, unassisted round-the-world monohull record, which he set in 2017 when he finished the grueling Vendée Globe race – ‘the Everest of sailing’ – in just 74 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes. Having finished the 2012 and 2016 editions of the Vendée Globe in third and second place respectively, Thomson is targeting victory in 2020 onboard his brand-new HUGO BOSS race yacht.

Firstly, congratulations on all of your achievements so far and thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions!

1) You're about to head off again! Tell us a bit more about that and your goals for this year.

Yes, I can hardly believe that this will be my fifth Vendee Globe. I don’t feel old enough! Having finished third and second in the last two editions of the race, this time we are looking to win. But of course, we have to get to the finish line to be in contention. So to finish first, first we have to finish!

2) How do you prepare for a race?

Mental preparation is as, if not more, important as psychical preparation for me. I work with a sports psychologist, Ken Way, on lots of different techniques which help me to prepare for situations that I will face when I’m at sea. This means that, when those situations arise, I already know how to tackle them. Physical preparation is also important so I do train in the gym and I keep my strength up. But in the final stages, it’s really about preventing injuries and staying fit and well so that I can start the race in the best possible shape.

Here at Base Camp Food we are particularly interested in the fuel & nutrition for your challenges so you maintain your energy for the race....

Camping Meals

Photo credit: Alex Thomson Racing

3) How do you plan your meals for the Vendée Globe race and how many do you have to take?

For this Vendée Globe, I’ll take enough food for about 75-80 days, even though in reality we would hope to finish the race in 70 or under. We plan for one Real Turmat meal per day, which is a calorie intake of around 500-600 and a protein intake of around 20g. It’s important that I get the calories I need to keep going because it’s incredibly physical onboard. Sometimes you don’t even feel hungry but you know you have to eat! But we also take into account my tastes and eating habits. For me, the Real Turmat freeze-dried options taste the best, which is important when you’re eating them for 70+ days!

Freeze Dried Meals

Photo credit: Alex Thomson Racing

4) Do you have a preferred brand of meals or a favourite freeze dried meal that you take with you?

The Real Turmat Pasta Bolognaise is my favourite so we’ve packed plenty of sachets of those.

Freeze Dried Food

Photo credit: Alex Thomson Racing

5) Do you take freeze dried food or ready to eat meals, or both?

I take a mixture of wet and freeze-dried food but mainly freeze-dried because of the weight advantages. It’s super lightweight and easy to make by just adding hot water from the jetboil.

6) What's the hardest bit of the challenge of a race?

Staying mentally strong is perhaps the toughest thing. You’re faced with so many challenges mentally – isolation, exhaustion, setbacks. All of these things mean that staying strong, staying positive and staying motivated can be really tough. So that’s something I work hard at before the race.

7) What advice would you give to someone starting a career in offshore sailing?

Go for it! Get out on the water as much as you can and use every opportunity that comes your way because you never know where they might take you.

To follow Alex in the Vendee Globe, visit: www.alexthomsonracing.com/the-hub

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