My Life In Active Travel: Iain Percy, Olympic Sailor

'You get a huge rush of adrenalin'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?
Learning to fish on a trip to the Scottish Highlands. I grew up on the south coast, so Scotland felt a long way away!

Best holiday?
Snowboarding, anywhere with good snow. I love it.

Favourite place to sail in the UK?
Hayling Island, Hampshire. I sailed at Hayling Island a lot as I grew up, it's a great dinghy racing venue which regularly hosts international events. There's open water between France and Hayling so when there's a strong southerly wind blowing, you get great breeze and big waves – brilliant sailing conditions.

Favourite sailing abroad?
I'm lucky in that through my Olympic and America's Cup sailing I've had the opportunity to sail in hundreds of venues all over the world. My favourite has to be Cape Town. Amazing sailing and a fantastic backdrop, with Table Mountain in the distance.

What have you learnt from your travels?
That England is the best place to live in the world. I have recently spent time living in Italy and have a flat in Valencia, Spain, but for me, England will always be the best place to live.

Ideal travelling companion?
With a big crowd of mates.

Why be an adrenalin junkie when you could be a beach bum?
I guess some people might describe me as a beach bum anyway, but for sure I am an adrenalin junkie. When you're out on the water and the heat is on, you get a huge rush of adrenalin, whether it's racing for a gold medal at the Olympic Games, glory at the America's Cup, or sailing in crazy conditions.

Better to travel or to arrive?
To arrive.

Best place to switch off?
Serengeti, Africa. Amazing.

Greatest travel luxury?
Noise cancelling headphones, I take them everywhere I go. If you ever need to drift off into your own world, and get away from what surrounds you, they are perfect.

Most remote place that you've been?
I have been to two very remote places - the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the middle of the ocean.

Holiday reading?
Novels.

Where has seduced you?
Thailand. I can't wait to go back and visit again, I'd love to stay a while and delve deeper, beneath the obvious touristy stuff and beaches.

Ski, surf or bungy?
Ski. Snowboarding is one of my favourite sports, and snowboarding holidays are one of my getaways from the world of sailing.

Best meal abroad?
Seafood on Koh Samui, Thailand.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Have a beer! Once you wind down from your journey, you can get settled and figure out what to do next.

Where next?
I'm currently in Miami, having competed in the Bacardi Cup, one of the big regattas for the Star class ahead of the Olympic Games. From here I go home to London for a quick break, and then head back to Miami. We have the Star World Championships coming up here at the beginning of April, so Andrew [Simpson, Iain's crew in the Star] and I have spent half the winter out here, training. After that, we have a couple of events in Europe, before Skandia Team GBR travel out to Qingdao, China, where the Olympic sailing regatta will be hosted at the beginning of August.

Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy MBE will be competing at the Olympic Games this summer. Follow his progress at: www.skandiateamgbr.com

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