For about a week now we have been hinting at something pretty exciting that we’ve been working on at Alex Thomson Racing.
As the temperature in the UK drops below freezing, we are casting our minds back to warmer days last year, and the epic day that saw Alex attempt the infamous ‘keel walk’ stunt again.
You may remember the image from his last attempt several years ago. It’s a great picture, but many people doubted it’s authenticity and thought it might be Photoshopped. So this time Alex decided to get a camera crew involved. And here is what happened…
KEEL WALKER: Alex Thomson (Follow @alexthomson99)
YACHT SKIPPER: Ross Daniel
YACHT: IMOCA 60 ‘HUGO BOSS’, Designer Finot-Conq
COMBINED SAILING EXPERIENCE OF CREW: 45 years
WEIGHT OF YACHT: 8.2 tonnes
WEIGHT OF KEEL: 4 tonnes
JET SKI ENGINE SIZE: 255 horsepower
REQUIRED WIND SPEED: 17 – 19 knots
REQUIRED SEA STATE: Slight (waves 0.5 – 1.25 metres)
REQUIRED SAILING SPEED: 9 knots
SAILING ANGLE OF YACHT TO LIFT KEEL OUT OF THE WATER: 45°
MAXIMUM ANGLE OF YACHT: 70°
MAXIMUM SAILING TIME WITH KEEL OUT OF THE WATER: 45 – 60 seconds
SKIPPER’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE:
Getting the keel out of the water and keeping it there requires precision sailing and knowing the boat inside out.
From his position at the helm, Ross cannot see either Alex or the jet ski, so he relies on the information given to him by the spotter (port side of stern / left back).
- The boat coming down on top of Alex, the jet ski and its driver.
- The wind is unpredictable; a momentary gust or drop will affect the direction and speed of the boat in an instant.
- The keel hitting Alex – 4 tonnes of lead moving at 10mph – the equivalent of being charged by an elephant!
Wednesday 1st February
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