Who will be the chosen one?

The Artemis Offshore Academy's John Thorn looks back on their first season
This week we expect the lucky individual to be announced who has won the Artemis Offshore Academy scholarship, thereby getting the ticket to enter this year’s La Solitaire du Figaro, with a fully-funded campaign backed by the Edinburgh-based investment house. For the last months, the top eight from the Artemis Offshore Academy have been down in the south of France training at Franck Citeau’s facility in La Grande Motte. The Academy squad has comprised Phil Sharp, Oliver Young, Sam Goodchild, Nick Cherry, Nigel King, Simon Hiscocks and Nick Houchin – a strong mix of Route du Rhum Class 40 winners, Olympic medallists and British match racing champions. Sadly former Mini sailor Ollie Bond had to drop out due to injury. The British squad members have been developing their skills alongside several leading lights of the French Figaro and shorthanded offshore scene including the likes of DCNS’ Christopher Pratt, Arthur Levaillant, Jean-Pierre Nicol, Laurent Pellecuer, Nicolas Berenger and Marc Emig. For the Brits a more compact training camp has been taking place alongside this for the Minis where the Artemis academy’s Pip Hare (more on her shortly) and Becky Scott have been participating, the latter campaigning Artemis’ own Mini which previously Ollie Bond raced in the 2009 Mini Transat. With The Decision looming, so over the last weeks the squad has been undertaking a mix of short, medium and long distance races aboard the Academy’s four Figaro Beneteau 2 32 footers (joined at the start of March by a fifth – the one Jonny Malbon campaigned last year). “We are calling them indicator races, in much the same way as the RYA use races as indicators of performance, but not an absolutely a ‘first past the post’ series,” explains the Artemis Offshore Academy’s John Thorn, making the comparison with Skandia Team GBR’s Olympic selection process.