Born in Barcelona, Spain, Willy Altadill’s experience as a professional sailor belies his age.
He grew up around the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race thanks to his father Guillermo’s five races as a competitor from 1989 to 2009. In 2014 he followed in his father’s footsteps when he made his Volvo Ocean Race debut as an Under-30 sailor on board Mapfre, returning with the same team again in 2017-18, finishing 2nd overall.
His vast offshore racing experience includes victory in the Fastnet and a second place in the infamous Sydney Hobart. In 2020 he sailed onboard Racing for the Planet when they won the inaugural Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy.
Date of birth
28 September 1992
Spanish, English, Italian.
Sailing career highlights
2nd Sydney Hobart (2019)
2nd Rolex Fastnet Race (2013)
1st Rolex Fastnet Race (2011)
Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18 - Sailor in Mapfre team
Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15 - Sailor in Mapfre team
Yoann on Willy
Willy is a superb addition to any offshore racing team. Not only does he know every area of the VO65 boat by heart, he also brings with him a great atmosphere. This combination of technical knowledge to improve the boat and the skill to motivate the team makes him a great leader for manoeuvres.
What was your first sailing memory?
My father is also a professional sailor, so I grew up in the sailing world. He competed in eight round the world races in his career and has participated in The Olympic Games as a coach. I started sailing Optimist at the age of 9 in Palamos, Girona and moved up to bigger boats when I was 17.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by my close friends and my past team mates. I am lucky to have people who inspire me every day in my life.
What was your childhood sailing dream?
I always wanted to become a professional sailor. That was always my focus.
What items do you always take with you when you go sailing?
I always bring good clothes for sailing and some honey. Honey is really healthy. It tastes good, and it really helps with recovery on the hard days.
What hobbies do you have when not sailing?
If I’m not sailing, I like to spend time in Antigua in the Caribbean. I like to go windsurfing and spearfishing. Most of my friends are into one of those things or both so it is always great to spend time with them.
Give us an example of a sustainable attitude to life – what do you do for a better world?
I collect driftwood and plastic from the beach and turn it into something useful, like furniture. So far I have made a few tables and some benches for my house.
What advice would you give to young sailors to protect the planet?
I believe in keeping life simple – consume less and avoid waste.
Next race: The Ocean Race Europe
This is a great opportunity for us all, both to go racing but also to share our important message – Racing for the Planet – across Europe.