HENRY BOMBY: Heading down south for the first race of the season

HENRY BOMBY: Heading down south for the first race of the season

Monday March 4 2013 Author: Artemis Offshore Academy Location: United Kingdom

Academy graduate Henry Bomby reports prior to his first solo Figaro race of the season...

Last week I got a call asking if I would be up for taking the reins of one of the Artemis steeds for the first Figaro race of 2013, the ICOM Cup Méditerranée, one of two races down in the Mediterranean this year. With the race starting in La Grande Motte on Thursday, this weekend I’ll be heading back down south to where I spent my winter last year, to prepare 23 and meet the new Academy squad.

While everything has all been a bit last minute and not planned into my training schedule at all, competing in this first race works in nicely with my programme at Pôle Finistere. With the Transat AG2R about to kick off, the next two weeks were due to be quiet  ones for those of us concentrating on La Solitaire du Figaro. With all eyes on the AG2R skippers, we were in for a fortnight of preparing Figaros and sailors for optimal reliability and performance, with no on the water training planned.

The day François Gabart came to play in Port la Forêt

The build up to the ICOM Cup feels different to any Figaro race I have done before for many reasons. Firstly, the anxiety I experienced for weeks before every race last year isn’t there and for the first time I feel confident and in the mindset to go out and really fight to win the race, rather than just holding on and trying not lose by miles... Before each race start last year I was filled with dread and I didn’t like the days before the start at all. Luckily, loving the racing so much has brought me back each time and has meant that I am now familiar with the Figaro circuit and my confidence has now grown. This year I am just looking forward to getting out there and doing what I love!

Figaro training with Pôle Finistere

I think that my disappearing nerves can be put down to a new found belief in my pace and a confidence that I didn’t have before, which massively affects the way you race. Rather than knowing that my pace won’t be enough and looking for an alternative tactical options to stay up with front runners, instead I am looking to stick close and let my pace do the work over long periods of time while waiting for errors from others. It’s a much nicer feeling!

Figaro 19 during a training session

The ICOM Cup is a great format with two long offshore legs from La Grande Motte to Marseille and back again (not direct!), split up with a day’s inshore racing in Marseilles.  I have never done a long offshore race in the Med. and in many ways I am hoping for a big mistral session to blow away  my racing cobwebs! To be able to compete in the race is a great opportunity and also a chance to get in some race time alongside training. I am still looking for a title sponsor for this season in order to take part in the other races on the circuit, so will be doing a big media push back home to try and raise awareness for the cause and see if I can’t attract any takers. The ICOM Cup Méditerranée kicks off on Thursday afternoon at 15:00CET with a 140nm leg to Marseilles.

Right now I’d better get myself down to the South of France, check out this boat and get ready for race day - bring it on!

You can follow the ICOM Cup Méditerannée via the tracker here, or if you follow on twitter @henrysailing or Facebook, you will no doubt be notified of all that over the coming days!

Henry Bomby

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