Having sailed from Southampton's Ocean Village to Port la Forêt (Brittany) via Le Havre, Sam and Sidney satisfied the Transat Jacques Vabre's requirements in terms of qualifying miles. The duo encountered a wide variety of conditions on the qualifying passage and put the boat's gear to the test, seeing the anemometer exceed 35 knots at times, in very harsh sea conditions generated by a nasty wind against tide configuration close to Alderney and the northern tip of Normandy.
Having already taken part in the TJVs in 2003 and 2007, Sam Davies has a clear idea of the challenges lying ahead. In the 2007 edition of the TJV, Artemis Ocean Racing I (now renamed Artemis The Profit Hunter) was dismasted in rough seas just off Cape Finisterre. Team members Jonny Malbon and Graham Tourell were unhurt, but everyone will be hoping that this year’s fleet has a safe passage into the Atlantic.
In the race Sam and Sidney will be facing the all-conquering Michel Desjoyeaux, who won the last TJV in 2007 before capturing his second Vendée Globe victory. On this occasion Desjoyeaux is teaming up with Jérémie Beyou, formerly skipper of the Delta Dore IMOCA 60. Aboard BT, the duo of Sébastien Josse and Jeff Cuzon, who recently won the Rolex Fastnet race double-handed in the IMOCA class, are also considered as one of the pre-race favourites.
Artemis Ocean Racing came second in the Rolex Fastnet Race, proving her summer refit had improved her light wind performance. She and BT will be two boat testing and training together out of Port la Forêt over the coming weeks. This training will help Sam and Sidney to build their knowledge of the boat and her performance levels. Despite the weight-saving refit, Artemis Ocean Racing remains one of the heavier of the latest generation IMOCA 60 and her weakest point of sail is light, downwind airs, conditions which are expected to prevail for much of the TJV race course.