Skipper Gaetan Thomas
Offshore racer, skipper, coach, preparator
Born in Belgium in 1987.
In couple, father of one child
• 2003 ITSSEP
Belgium, Technical sport study, gymnastic option.
• 2006 Glénans
Bonifacio, formation of sailing cruising instructor.
• 2008 Royal Yachting Association
Yachtmaster Offshore 200GT - Australia
• 2010 United Kingdom Sailing Academy
Yachtmaster Ocean 200GT
• 2010 à 2016 Warsash University (Southampton)
Many STCW internationals maritime formations (General radio operator GMDSS VHF/MF/HF, medical care, sea survival, management, electricity, mechanic, ...)
Member of the Belgium national team from 1999 to 2006 (Optimist and 420)
European championship Optimist (Gran Canaria 2001)
• 9 Transatlantics crossings including 3 single handed
• 1 Pacific north ocean crossing
• 1 South Indian ocean crossing
• 1 Round of Australia
• 1 crossing from Australia to China
In total more than 15 ocean crossings including 10 racing
2017/18 - 4th Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
• Race skipper of the Garmin sailing team, sloop of 70ft, 18 months contract and 40,000nm racing. 5 Podiums
• 1st Wight Clipper race 2017
• 3rd Round of Isle of Wight 2017
• 3rd Uruguay to CapeTown 2017
• 2nd Sydney Hobart race (3rd cause redress) 2017/18
• 3rd New York to Derry Londonderry 2018
• 3rd Derry to Liverpool 2018
• 1st Mersey River final sprint 2018
• 1st fastest all round the world ocean sprints 2018
My story in a few lines
« I am from Belgium and since my childhood I have always loved adventure, the open sea, challenges. Without much ambition for school and study, I left home at a young age to become a sailor.
The taste of the open sea began when I was 4-5 years old, with my family, brother and sister on a cruising boat around the English Channel and the North Sea. We went sailing every weekend, we started with a very small sailboat, a Corsair of less than 6m and ended with a 35ft.
One summer we had received an old dinghy, a wooden Optimist. That's how I started to discover the pleasure of going fast on the water, adjusting the sails, playing with the wind, the waves and especially the regatta!
It didn't happen right away, but after seeing me so obstinate to compete, my parents let me do a sailing stage with the "GoSailing" training center on competitive Optimists. I loved it and in a very short time I was selected for the Belgian national team, and I raced internationally until the European Championship in the Canary Islands.
As soon as I came of age, I joined as a volunteer at Les Glénans, a notorious French sailing school. I was there for a few months and that's how I learned the role of skipper.
Around my 20s, without a penny in my pocket, thanks to the help of a friend, we left for Australia, after a few months we separated, them for Asia, me to stay in Oz to learn English and pass an international skipper's diploma. A journey that lasted more than two years.
Once back in Europe, I started working for big brands of sailboats, and I did a lot of deliveries of sail boats, changing boats regularly, I continued to gain experience.
A few years later, I was able to do my first transatlantic and directly solo, followed by a second and a third. All by the use of the old sextant. I was doing my astro plots every day and the GPS was there only to reassure me, it was a personal challenge.
Then I was able to work on superyachts, racing boats, monohulls, multihulls, the miles accumulated and in 2016, after long selections, I was taken by the Clipper round the world yacht race in order to be the skipper of the Garmin team for a round-the-world race.
It was an emotional experience, and a pride to complete the full loop with the chocolate medal in the final (4th).
This race allowed me to meet beautiful people including one who helped me get a financial loan for my Class40. The objective is to go around the world via the 3 capes nonstop and try to beat a world record.
I am looking for financial partners to support me in this adventure while running as many Class40 races as possible.
My long-term goals are to be able to sail at the highest level and to participate in major internationals races such as the Route du Rhum or the Vendée Globe! »