A BASINGSTOKE sailor has begun his quest to take on one of the most demanding offshore sailing competitions - but he has an added challenge.

Jack, 24, will be competing in the Route du Rhum, a solo sailing competition which sees sailors take part in a 3,452 mile race from Brittany, France to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

The Route du Rhum now in its 40th year is one of the most famous offshore sailing competitions in the French calendar.

Basingstoke-born Jack is one of the biggest prospects in British sailing and having trained with the likes of Ben Ainslie and Alex Thompson.

He has competed in a number of races including the Round Britain and Ireland race but this the first time he will compete in the Route du Rhum.

He said: “This is by the far the biggest race I’ve ever competed in so I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity. This is precisely where I want to be.

“Am I nervous? Of course. But those nerves are mixed with excitement and sheer adrenaline at the prospect of competing in a race of this magnitude.”

With more than 50 others competing in the event, Jack will be facing an extra challenge as Type 1 diabetic.

Jack will have to manage his condition for his two weeks at sea and will need to monitor his glucose levels, maintain a strict diet and administer insulin whilst on board.

An ambassador for Diabetes UK, the 24-year-old hopes to raise awareness of the disease and inspire others.

He added: “Of course, having Diabetes presents another challenge when I’m racing solo but I’ve never let it hold me back from competing. It’s a condition that I’ve learned to manage and I hope that I’m able to show other sufferers that life doesn’t need to stop just because of that diagnosis.”

Route du Rhum began on Sunday, 4 November.