Days after returning from his Solo Around the World record attempt, Alex was contacted by Boats.co.uk who had recently salvaged a 90' Oyster sailing yacht which had sunk in the Mediterranean - only a year after being built.
The team at Boats in Essex were experienced in boat salvage and rebuild, but had very little experience of sailing boats. Their plan was to rebuild it and race it across the Atlantic - in 12 months!
Alex headed to Essex to meet the 4 brothers and see what the project entailed. They were already well into the structural rebuild of the boat, replacing the entire centre section of the hull.
The first job Alex had was to head to Ireland and check on the build of the mast. Over 100' long, the mast was about 50% complete when he flew out the next day. After checking the details with the designers and making sure everything was in place, he signed off the build and went back to Essex to start dealing with the rest of the sailing side of the project.
Alex was brought in as a sailing consultant, deciding on what would stay and what needed replacing. He had complete trust from the owners and set about making the project come to life - calling on his many contacts in the marine industry.
When the team left the boatyard in Essex they were still fitting door frames and lights inside. A quick 48hr pitstop in Portsmouth allowed some of the shore team to get onboard while a storm passed up the Channel.
Eager to get going, there was a short weather window before the next weather system arrived so it was another quick sprint down to Plymouth, where again the shore crew came onboard again to continue with the fitout.
The team were now stuck there for a week due to bad weather in the Bay of Biscay preventing them heading south to the Canary Islands and the race start.
As soon as the weather began to ease, Alex and the team set off for Tenireffe - sprinting across Biscay with a quick fuel stop in Cascais in Portugal.
Over the summer, Alex would spend several days at a time in the yard checking on progress and making sure everything was in the right place, doing much of the work himself.
Transforming the boat from a wreck with a huge hole in the bottom, to a beautiful sailing yacht.
The next job was to finish the fit out inside and on deck and get the boat to the start of the ARC Trans Atlantic Race by mid November. It was a race against the clock.
They arrived in Las Palmas with only 24hrs to spare before the start of the race to St Lucia.
The boat was still on the fuel dock, with carpenters still working below deck when the start gun went - meaning they were two hours late for the start.
However, with Alex skippering and weather routing they were soon passing other boats. By the time they crossed the finish just over two weeks later, they had overtaken almost the entire fleet, becoming the 7th boat to cross the finish line out of 170 starters.
Alex's roles on the project:
Sailing consultant for the boat rebuild
Consultant for the sails and rigging
Supplier of specialist sailing equipment