20% increasing in racing for Artemis Offshore Academy sailors
Taking third place behind Francois Gabart and Armel le Cleac'h and setting a new British circumnavigation record was Alex Thomson and Hugo Boss, who finished after 80 days and 19 hours on the course.
At his press conference Thomson said: “In England we are very fortunate in having the Artemis Offshore Academy for short-handed sailing. They have supported the sport well and there are some good people coming through the ranks.”
The Artemis Offshore Academy squad followed the race day by day and have found inspiration from the performance of these great sailors. This is pertinent given that the Academy aims to develop British short-handed offshore racing talent by providing an intensive training programme for aspiring sailors who want to follow in the footsteps of British Vendée Globe sailors Dame Ellen MacArthur, Mike Golding, Alex Thomson, Sam Davies and Brian Thompson.
In 2013 the Artemis Offshore Academy sailors have over 130 days of racing in store for them, a 20% increase from 2012, with the Solitaire du Figaro, Rolex Fastnet Race and Mini Transat being the highlight events of the year for the Figaro and Mini classes respectively.
Artemis Offshore Academy graduates Sam Goodchild and Henry Bomby have recently begun their 2013 training having been accepted at the elite Pôle Finistere offshore training centre in Brittany, France. Goodchild and Bomby are training alongside the likes of Francois Gabart and Armel Le C’leac’h as they focus on the Figaro's class main event of the season, La Solitaire du Figaro.
“The great thing about joining the Pôle Finistere centre is that we’ll train with many of the greats in Figaro and solo offshore racing to really develop our skills further and learn from the best of the best” explained Sam. Read Henry and Sam’s recent blogs about training at the elite Pôle Finistere here.
“The Solitaire du Figaro would be the highlight race of the year for me, but there is a lot to learn beforehand,” reported Squad sailor Jack Bouttell, who is hoping to secure a place in this year's Solitaire alongside Sam, Henry and Nick Cherry.
“As well as the Solitaire du Figaro we also have the legendary Rolex Fastnet Race, followed by the Mini Transat in the calendar, these races combined with the other Figaro, Mini and double-handed events make it our most comprehensive race programme to date,” expanded John Thorn, Artemis Offshore Academy Performance Director. The Rolex Fastnet Race is soon to be announced as an official event in this year's Figaro calendar.
Thorn continues: “The full-time squad of Mark Andrews, Ed Hill and Jack Bouttell are currently training at the Centre d’Entrainement Méditerranée under the guidance of seven-time Solitaire du Figaro veteran Nico Bérenger as they prepare for their first solo race of the season, the ICOM CUP in March. While full-time Mini sailor Nikki Curwen has also moved to France to train in the Lorient Grand Large Mini group led by renowned solo coach, Tanguy Leglatin, before she too moves south to Italy and prepares for the Roma Mini Solo."
Curwen is focusing on following in her father's footsteps by competing in the 4020 mile Mini Transat from Douarnenez, France to Pointe á Pitre, Guadeloupe in October. “The Mini Transat is the ultimate challenge – being on your own in a tiny little 21ft boat with no communication to land for over 30 days. The mental aspect and preparation is as great a challenge, as is the physical ability!”
But firstly, Nikki must qualify – these include 1000nm racing in the Roma Mini Solo and the Gran Premio d’Italia, as well as a 1000nm solo passage on board her Mini. This she hopes to have completed by mid-May, however, simply qualifying does not guarantee her a place on the starting grid, she will join the short waiting list of eager Mini sailors vying to compete, whilst spending the summer months raising the final part of required funding that she needs to compete.
Meanwhile part-time Academy sailors, Robin Elsey, Sam Matson, Dyfrig Mon, and Alex Gardner, will be training throughout the year in a double-handed racing season from Cowes, UK. As Gardner reports: “Our double-handed programme this year is all focused towards doing the RORC Fastnet race in August, and hopefully the Tour de Bretagne in early September.” For this group of sailors the first race of the season is the RORC Cervantes Trophy in May. “I am really looking forward to our first race, and at 140nm the race won’t be the longest of the year, but a perfect way to start what will be a pivotal season for me.”
Artemis Offshore Academy 2013 Race Programme
ICOM MED CUP – Figaro – Solo – 6–12 March
Roma Mini Solo – Mini – Solo – 15–18 March
Solo Arimer- Figaro – Solo – 9– 13 April
Gran Premio d’Italia – Mini – Solo – 13 – 21 April
Solo Concarneau – Figaro – Solo – 4-9 May
RORC Cervantes Trophy – Figaro – Double-handed – 4-5 May
UK Solent 6.50 – Mini – Double-handed – 5-7 May
UK Fastnet 6.50 – Mini – Double-handed – 12-18 May
RORC Myth of Malham – Figaro – Double-handed – 25-26 May
Round the Island Race – Figaro – Fully crewed – 1 June
Solitaire du Figaro – Figaro – Solo – 2-23 June
Trophée Marie-Agnés Péron – Mini – Solo – 13-15 June
RORC De Guingand Bowl – Figaro – Double-handed – 14-16 June
Mini Fastnet – Mini – Double-handed – 23-27 June
RORC Morgan Cup – Figaro – Double-handed – 28-30 June
RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Marlo – Figaro – Double-handed – 12-14 July
RORC Channel Race – Figaro – Double-handed – 27-28 July
Cowes Week – Figaro – Fully crewed – 3-10 August
RORC Rolex Fastnet – Figaro – Double-handed – 11-18 August
Le Grande 8 – Mini – Solo/Double-handed – 18-25 August
Tour de Bretagne – Figaro – Double-handed – 1-7 September
RORC Cherbourg Race – Figaro – Double-handed – 6-8 September
Mini Transat – Mini – Solo – 13 October till approximately 23 November