Alex Thomson Skywalk Q&A

Want to know more about the latest stunt? Alex Thomson answers some questions about planning and prepping for the Skywalk.

Hugo Boss Skywalk
Thomson flies above the recently relaunched Hugo Boss IMOCA 60, the boat he will be sailing around the world in the Vendee Globe.Alex Thomson Racing

How long have you been planning the stunt for?

I started thinking about the stunt as soon as we completed the Mastwalk. It all began with a bit of fun with the team and is now almost expected from Alex Thomson Racing . I am often asked 'What next?' after the Keelwalk and Mastwalk. We spent a long time preparing and training for the Skywalk. There were a lot of elements that had to come together to make it work, especially with the added factor of me kitesuriing rather than being on the boat for this stunt.

Hugo Boss Skywalk
The whole flight time was about 90 seconds and reached a maximum height of 280 feet.Alex Thomson Racing

Why did you choose the Skywalk?

I have had the concept of the Skywalk in the back of my mind for a long time. Sailing is my full -time career, kitesurfing is my hobby. Being able to combine both to create the next stunt was perfect.

Hugo Boss Skywalk
Thomson is a skilled kiteboarder and spends much of his time outside sailing practicing.Alex Thomson Racing

How did you prepare?

I am fortunate to know some really great professionals from the kiting world such as Susi Mai. I had several weeks training in Alvor, Portugal, where we developed the technique of attaching and launching. We practiced lifting behind our RIB as we worked towards the stunt behind the 'HUGO BOSS' Compared to the Mastwalk there were a lot more elements to coordinate in this stunt with the addition of me kitesuriing. It took a lot of planning for every possible outcome. If anything were to go wrong, we had to find a safe way out of it - and I had to overcome my fear of heights!

Hugo Boss Skywalk
The view from the top, 280 feet, more than double the height of Hugo Boss's mast.Alex Thomson

Who was sailing the boat during the stunt and what difficulties did they face?

Our Operations Manager Ross Daniel was helming the boat. Whilst helming Ross maintained a constant speed and ensured a steady course. This was critical for the stunt to go smoothly.

Hugo Boss Skywalk
The stunt completes the trilogy that began with the keel walk and then upped the ante with the mast walk.Alex Thomson Racing