Alex Corby, third year Economics student and sailing bursar, is not only a world class sailor but a talented athlete all round. Read on to find out what he loves about sailing, how he stays motivated to train and where else his sporting career might take him.
How long have you been sailing and how did you get into it?
I started sailing competitively at the age of 10 at my first national level club in Waltham Abbey after spending 2 years sailing with my dad. I began as a crew, sailing a dinghy called a Cadet, I then progressed to helming which consists of steering the boat and trying to win races though a series of tactical manoeuvres based on wind and sail setting.
I now sail numerous boats, with my main competitive national boat being a Solo. To date, I have been crowned National Junior Solo Champion and have gained sponsorship for my results. This year, I am aiming to finish in the top 10 at the Solo Nationals in Torbay.
What’s the biggest event you have ever sailed?
I helmed the Cadet for 4 years where I competed at 3 World Championships and numerous European and National events. My best results were winning every national open event during 2012, culminating in a 3rd in Australia for the World Championships.
The biggest event that I have ever been in was the 2014 Cadet World Championships in Australia. Nearly 200 competitors from 14 different countries took part. This was the largest event I had ever sailed in and the event took place over a three-week period. As well as being physically exhausting, it also tested my mental ability to concentrate over a long period. I finished 3rd overall which was the best result for the Great British team in over a decade.
How do you stay motivated to train?
I am so competitive in all aspects of my life, whether it is in sport or my studies; I always want to be the best. Using this drive encourages me to train hard every time I’m in the gym or doing my sport. My main motivation is seeing the results from training being converted to improved times and rankings when I am competing. When I lose motivation, my results suffer and this kick-starts my drive to win again.
Why did you decide to study at UWE and what do you like about living in Bristol?
I ended up applying to Economics through the clearing system so luckily for me, I was accepted at UWE. Moving to Bristol is one of the best things I have ever done; the city and University life is fantastic. There is always plenty to do and with a great nightlife added into the mix, what more could I ask for!
From a sporting point of view, Bristol is a very central location for sailing events so I’m able to attend far more events than I would if I still lived at home.
What do you like to do when you’re not training or competing?
I usually relax by doing what most 21 year olds do! This means either going on nights out to have a bit of fun and forget about the stress of competitions and course deadlines or just treating myself to a takeaway with my housemates. If I do have any upcoming competitions then I would most likely do some kind of activity like go-karting in order to stimulate my mental competitiveness. I also like to muck about with my mates at places such as ‘Airhop’ just to remain active or occasionally go swimming.
What do you love about your sport?
The main thing I love about sailing is the diversity of the sport. I am rarely competing at the same venue more than twice a year, with varying wind conditions every time I sail. I have been fortunate enough to compete in over 10 different countries in my sailing career so far, making friends with other competitors from around the world.
You’ve recently got into another sport which could take your athletic career even further, tell us about Bob Skeleton and how this came about.
The Bob Skeleton is completely new to me and is the polar opposite to sailing. I was introduced to the sport through a Talent ID scheme run by the English Institute of Sport in July 2016. Since the initial testing I have passed three testing phases and have made it into the final 10 from an initial testing pool of over 3,500 applicants. The final test phase will be taking place at a two-week camp in Austria this month (mid-Feb 2017). If successful, I will join Team GB Bob Skeleton as a fully funded professional athlete.
I am yet to find out what I love about bob skeleton but I am hoping that I will enjoy it as much as I do sailing.