Gaëtan Thomas "GT"
OFFSHORE SAILING RACER – PROFESSIONAL SKIPPER
In a few words :
• Started sailing at 4 years old
• Member of the Belgian dinghy National Team from 1999 to 2006 (Optimist and 420 Class)
• European Optimist Championship (Gran Canaria 2001)
• Professionnal Skipper since 2006
• Holder Yacht Master Ocean Unlimited 200 GT code STCW
• Clipper Round The World Yacht Race 2017/18 : Skipper Team Garmin 4th place overall
• 1st Fastest Boat
• Expert in astro navigation
• 3 North Atlantic solo crossings with no GPS sextant only
Who is Gaëtan Thomas ?
Gaëtan Thomas started sailing at a young age aboard their family sailboat.
He immediately get addicted to the open sea, spray, the mechanics.
The sailing solo adventure started when he was 8 years old, their father had recovered a homemade wooden optimist. After making his parents frightened like going to the middle of the English Channel towards England alone in his optimist, with a little water in reserve and some bananas, or going on a trip with fishermen at 5am without really tell her mother that he was offshore all day !
Every year he saw the national team training and the sailing racing quickly became his favorite sport. Spotted on his wooden Optimist, he joined a training center and by his 10 years old he was already in the national team after only one season behind him.
Coming from a family of 4 children, the costs of this sport and the logistic quickly became an issue, Gaëtan had to give up competition at around 15 years old. There followed a difficult teenage time, he left home, preferring to aim for an adventure career, to be a sailor. He knew the street, traveling without a penny, but his obsession to become a skipper of racing sailboats always gave him hope and saved him from the darkness.
He learned navigation and the role of skipper at « Les Glénans », a well recognised sailing academy in France. He spent a few months in Corsica as a volunteer with in return accommodation and the training to become an instructor of sailing.
When he was 20 years old he left to Australia, for more than two years, worked as a chef to pay his qualifications, learned English and passed his Yachtmaster in the Queensland of Australia, in Airlie beach in 2009.
For several months he lived aboard a sailboat and sailed alone between the Great Barrier Reef and Australia.
His career as a professional skipper continued, sailed on many sorts of boats, from superyachts to Fishing boats, from charter to yacht delivery (taking sailboats from one point to another).
Passionate about astronomical navigation, in 2012 Gaëtan crossed the North Atlantic Ocean on a 32ft sailboat from Guadeloupe to Spain SOLO with a sextant, on the last 500 miles between the Azores and Cape Finisterre he underwent a dismasting but managed to reach the mainland all that without an autopilot and rationing its food.
He did not stay long and he sailed again solo but this time on a 46ft sailboat.
A double Transatlantic to the West Indies and back to the UK. Again he carried out his navigation by the use of sextant.
Years have passed, sailing has accumulated, he has participated in a lot of regattas as skipper or as number one.
In 2017/18 he was selected by the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as skipper. Made history to be the first Belgian skipper to lead a team engaged in a race around the world.
He was the captain of the Garmin team, they finished in a respectable 4th place, despite a stage requiring medical evacuation of one of the team members. However, they were ranked 1st sailboat on ocean sprints.
This race allowed him to embark on the next adventure in order to realize his dream, to sail solo around the world without stopping by the 3 caps on a racing sailboat.
IT'S HIS VENDÉE GLOBE BUT IN CLASS40!