Alan 'Willie' Thornewill

Boat Type: JOD35
Sail Number: FRA15012
Rating: 1.004

Just like many of our fraternity, I sailed dinghies as a child.

Joining the Navy in 1985, put a stop to much of that but later presented the opportunity to sail all over the world.  By using a warship to cover the bulk of the distance and arranging to visit the local sailing clubs when in port, I have been able to sail in most of the oceans, including the Arctic and Antarctic, and pass both capes under sail.  

As a member, then Bos’n and Skipper of the RN Offshore Sailing Team, I have competed in Service, JOG and RORC events.  Upon leaving the RN in 2007, I was head-hunted by HMS SULTAN to become the Sail Training Supervisor.  As a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster I have undertaken short and single handed deliveries and passages as well as raced professionally.

I have Navigated, Helmed and Skippered the RORC Fastnet Race. Most recently, for my 7th time round, I campaigned the 2014 and 2015 seasons in the two-handed class aboard my own yacht Ginger.  Unfortunately prioritising this allowed no time to compete in the SORC offshore races during these seasons.

The Fastnet holds a fascination for me and keeps drawing me back, again and again.


Ginger is a JOD35 (Jeanneau One Design 35); designed with the French obsession for short-handed sailing. I often say she is the wrong boat;  She can be a dog in light airs and a bit of a handful in a blow.  She has not been converted to water ballast but has been converted to fully asymmetric spinnakers, making for ease of handling and a significant adjustment in the handicap.

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