YBQ Issue2

Page 8

TOP MARK Photo: Supplied


SAILING ROCK STAR SCALING NEW HEIGHTS When she’s not competing for some of the biggest prizes in match racing, Megan Thomson can be found dangling from cliffs, she tells Suzanne McFadden

Megan Thomson has made match-racing history this season. Photos: WWMRT


egan Thomson is equally at home behind a wheel on the water, or scaling up a sheer rock face – even though she harbours a fear of

heights. It’s an interesting combination of passions – sailing and rock climbing – but the Auckland sailor reckons they share much more than just ropes. “Both need physical strength and take a lot of mental strength and control. It’s so cool when you’re able to push through boundaries,” says the world’s No 3 ranked match racing skipper. “I was terrified of heights – which got me into rock climbing while I was at university. I love the feeling of overcoming a fear or a challenge. It’s something I can work on in little doses. “The climbing community is cool, like sailing, and you go to some incredible places not overrun by tourists.” Thomson spent a month this year climbing on the Greek island of Kalymnos – a break from an epic seven months of sailing at the highest level. It was a year when Thomson, 26, was truly pushed out of her comfort zone – where she sailed all but one event on the women’s match race tour and ended up on the overall podium; was called on to crew on a leg of the Ocean Race; and helmed a boat in the grand-daddy of match racing, the Congressional Cup. To top it off, she finished third at the season-ending World Match Racing Tour final in Shenzhen last weekend, becoming the first female skipper to medal in the event’s history. “In sailing it’s about learning to push yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone. If you push yourself too far, things start to fall apart, or you panic. If I’m nervous before an event, or doing something I haven’t done before, I’m always focusing on ‘stretching’ my comfort zone,” she says. “It’s the same with climbing; you can’t all of a sudden stand on the edge of a cliff – you have to chip away at it.” Thomson has no fear of leaping on opportunities whenever they present themselves, which took her to some unexpected places in 2023.

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