Artemis Offshore Academy hots up
In just a week, on 6 March, there is the Icom Cup Meditéranée. The three-stage race starts from the Academy'ss winter training centre, the Centre d’Entrainement Méditerranée (CEM), in La Grande Motte bound for Marseille, followed by a day of inshore racing and then a longer race back to La Grande Motte.
For Ed Hill and Jack Bouttell it will be the first solo offshore race of their careers.
“Solo racing is something that I have been working towards for a long time. Now that I have the opportunity with the Academy to do it, I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” explained Bouttell.
Hill added : “It means a lot to be competing in the Icom Cup – it means that I am moving towards my goal of being competitive in the Solitaire du Figaro."
Finn sailors Mark Andrews has taken the decision to focus purely on doublehanded racing with the Academy: “I have made the difficult decision not to pursue this season’s singlehanded offshore programme and will instead focus on doublehanded and fully crewed offshore racing that can run alongside my Finn programme.
"I’ve put in a lot of work in the last few months, however, after the first solo 24 hour training race I suspected that solo racing may not be for me and I wanted to make my decision early so that another sailor could campaign Artemis 23 for the season.”
Mark will now have more time to campaign his Olympic Finn campaign.
Graduate sailor Henry Bomby will take a break from training on his own boat in Port La Foret, Brittany, to race ‘23’ in the Icom Cup, giving him some important early season race practice before the reins of this boat are handed to fellow graduate Nick Cherry. Cherry will race the boat in the next two solo races of the season, aiming to secure enough funding to continue on to race in La Solitaire du Figaro in June.
In preparation for the Icom Cup, the Academy soloists have been working hard with coach Nicolas Bérenger, spending many long, hard and, not to mention, cold weekends working on their boats, learning how to use and repair onboard electronics, familiarising themselves with the engine and carrying out general maintenance to be race ready.
“I’ve made lots of little modifications to my boat to make life easier like re-wiring it to keep things simple, hanging new stacking nets and getting 77 in shape for measurement, as well as adjusting the tiller height so I can steer with my bottom while gybing!” said Bouttell.
One of the hardest elements of this discipline is having to make all the decisions yourself without the input of other crew members. Both Bouttell and Hill have come from fully crewed racing and it is a big adjustment to make as Hill explains: “Doing everything yourself and multitasking is the hardest part of solo sailing!”
Read the latest blogs from the Artemis Offshore Academy here