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PRB wins Artemis Challenge

Newly wed Zara Phillips and Ewan McGregor go IMOCA 60 racing around the Isle of Wight

Wednesday August 10th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

The Artemis Challenge was a near record-breaking day out for Ewan McGregor, Zara Phillips and Natalie Pinkham, who joined IMOCA 60 skippers for the 50-mile sprint clock-wise around the Isle of Wight.

The Artemis Challenge, at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the world’s largest sailing regatta and one of the UK’s biggest sporting events, saw four IMOCA 60 teams battle it out for a £10,000 prize fund for the charity of their choice. This, the fifth edition, was won by French entry PRB skippered by 2004-5 Vendee Globe winner Vincent Riou, in a time of 4 hours, 14 minutes and 1 second, narrowly missing out on breaking the previous fastest time, set by Team Pindar in 2008, by just 13 seconds.

Hollywood A-lister Ewan McGregor, who joined the Hugo Boss sailing team led by Alex Thomson, said: “"It was an amazing experience - it was my first time yacht racing and to be part of the Hugo Boss team was a fantastic introduction to a really adventurous sport. Although the prize fund will not be awarded to UNICEF, I was pleased to be able to represent such a great cause on the water today and we hopefully helped to raise awareness of UNICEF'S crucial work for children in East Africa. And of course we can all still share a little of what we have with these children who so desperately need our help by texting SHARE to 78866.”

Zara Phillips, former world champion equestrienne, racing in her third Artemis Challenge was on Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by Dee Caffari. They were also joined by TV and radio presenter Natalie Pinkham said. Zara Phillips said: “It was a great day on the water today on Artemis Ocean Racing. I really enjoyed sailing with Dee and Natalie, and although we didn’t claim the prize for Toe in the Water it was great to be back at Cowes and go round the island so quickly.”

The Artemis Challenge started in a moderate southerly breeze at 1000 BST as PRB stayed close to the island shore out of the foul tide and gained an advantage that the French team managed to hold right through to the finish. By the time the four-boat IMOCA 60 fleet of PRB, Bernard Stamm's new Cheminees Poujoulat, Artemis Ocean Racing and Hugo Boss rounded Bembridge Ledge at the eastern end of the island and headed upwind round the back of the island, the wind was increasing in strength reaching up to 25 knots, with stronger gusts, which provided spectacular downwind ‘surfing’ conditions on the home run from The Needles to the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line off Cowes. Cheminees Poujoulat challenged PRB throughout while Artemis Ocean Racing and Hugo Boss engaged in a great battle for third place.

“The conditions were fantastic,” said Dee Caffari. “We led Hugo Boss all the way around to The Needles but we were gutted in the end, as we ripped our spinnaker which meant they overtook us. But we had a really great day.”

PRB’s nominated charity is Foundation Movement for Children's Village Foundation (MVE) and will receive a cheque for £10,000.

Results of the Artemis Challenge 2011:

1st PRB (Vincent Riou) finish time 14:14:01 BST
2nd Cheminees Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm) finish time 14:20:05 BST
3rd Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson) finish time 14:26:36
4th Artemis Ocean Racing (Dee Caffari) 14:38:32

Winning charity: Foundation MVE
The Foundation Movement for Children's Village Foundation (MVE) is a major player in child protection in France. It protects children at risk by hosting in his Children's Villages and Households, children and adolescents entrusted by the courts. Foundation Movement for Children's Villages was founded in 1958 by Suzanne Masson. It was state-approved in 2006.



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