Race within a race

French watchmaker Patton backs Artemis Offshore Academy sailors in Solitaire du Figaro

Thursday May 23rd 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

The Artemis Offshore Academy welcomes Patton Watches to its family of partners for the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro.

French watchmakers Patton, will be the official timekeeper of the six ‘Anglo-Irish’ sailors taking on the 1,938 mile race that starts on Sunday, 2 June from Bordeaux.

Academy skippers Ed Hill and Jack Bouttell plus Graduates Nick Cherry, Henry Bomby and Sam Goodchild along with Irish skipper David Kenefick will each receive the latest Patton watch, the P42 Immersion steel carbon watch, to keep time during the Solitaire du Figaro and the inter-Artemis Offshore Academy ‘Patton Challenge’ – a race within a race.

Unlike the Solitaire itself, which is scored on elapsed time, the six Anglo-Irish boats competing in the Patton Challenge will receive points for their position over the four racing legs, which conclude in Dieppe. The champion of the Patton Challenge will win an upgrade to the latest release in the Patton watch range – the Patton Harken Regatta watch.

From dream to reality

For Academy Rookies Hill and Boutell, the Solitaire is no longer a dream and the imminent arrival of some of the world’s most celebrated offshore sailors in Bordeaux later this week is very real. After seeing his Figaro 77 through measurement on Tuesday, the proximity of the race washed over Boutell like a cold Atlantic bow shower, with less that two weeks to prepare for his biggest challenge to date. As Bouttell states: “With measurement now passed and out the way, the Solitaire du Figaro is happening. The boat and I are on our way to Bordeaux to take on over 40 of the best solo offshore sailors out there in the biggest race in the Figaro calendar.”

On Friday, the six boat Artemis Offshore Academy ‘Anglo-Irish’ alliance will make their way up river from Pauillac alongside the other 36 skippers in the fleet in preparation for Leg 1 starting on 2 June, from Bordeaux to Porto (Portugal), but first they have to get there: “On the approach to the city, there is a bridge that only opens at 18:30 BST with the tide to let cruise ships through,” explains Hill. “On Friday, 42 Figaros will have to get past the cruise ship and through the bridge before it closes and won’t be opened again until the race start. It should be interesting!”

Once in Bordeaux, the build up begins and to celebrate the joining of the Academy’s latest partner, the Anglo-Irish sailors will be available at the Patton Watches retail stand in the Solitaire du Figaro race village at the Fete le Fleuve in Bordeaux, from 24 May to 2 June, to sign commemorative posters and postcards; and, of course, show off their smart new wristwatches.

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