Photo: Gilles Chiorri

12th place finish for Goodchild and Cherry

Artemis Offshore Academy duo complete Transat AG2R La Mondiale

Monday May 14th 2012, Author: Carolyn Lashmar, Location: none selected

Artemis Offshore Academy sailors Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry finished the Transat AG2R La Mondiale at 02:59:26 UTC to claim 12th place.

The only British entry and the youngest team in the fleet, Goodchild and Cherry covered the 3890+ nm course at an average speed of 7.15 knots taking 22 days 15 hours 59 minutes and 26 seconds for the passage from Concarneau via the Canary Islands.

Goodchild and Cherry, racing together in their first short-handed transatlantic race, battled to hold on to 8th place as an elated and exhausted Goodchild explains: “The last few days of the trip have been the hardest. We have had a few problems, which we have been trying to keep on top of, mainly spinnaker problems and trying to keep them in one piece whilst having to do repairs quickly and get them back up and [the boat] back up to speed. The forestay was also a problem for us, however we didn’t lose as much time as we expected due to this, perhaps only 20 – 30 minutes along the route. It was initially very worrying as the mast lost a lot of support and we had to secure it to make sure it didn’t fall off the boat.”

For a time they picked the most southerly route after the Canary Islands while yesterday they took another breakaway decision to head east of Barbuda as Cherry reports: “We didn’t think it would be a big gain, but we also knew we couldn’t get ahead of the boat without doing something different. It was a calculated risk on taking a different route, and hoping the forecast wasn’t as predicted we could gain five boats. Whilst we knew if we just followed the group we were in we would finish in the same position.”

For Goodchild one of the highlights of the race was also tied into the most challenging, the last 36 hours: “The last few days of the race, which coincided with the worst bit of the race as we had to spend loads of time fixing our spinnakers, but the times in between when we were not fixing them were the best bits of the race. Really good sailing in the trade winds with 25knots of wind in shorts and a t-shirt under a full moon and loving life!"

Artemis Academy Performance Director John Thorn added: “While we share the disappointment of Sam and Nick having dropped out of the top 10 in the last few hours of the race, it’s been a great race for the Academy to participate in, with lots of learning for all the current and future Squad, not only the two sailors that competed. Knowing that Sam and Nick can be competitive over a long distance race [holding 5th place for some time] and finishing just over seven hours from the podium after 22 days is confidence building for the Solitaire du Figaro which is coming up in just 30 days time. We’ll use their experience to develop our training programmes, and boost our technical knowledge to ensure race effecting downtime is limited in future. Although the damage to their forestay was less impactful on their result than the damage to the two large spinnakers, it could have been race ending and these kind of failures must be eradicated if we are to be successful."

The next big challenge for Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry will be racing against each other the Solitaire du Figaro, starting on 16 June.

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