Honours for Gitana 11 and MACIF
The seventh running of the Artemis Challenge at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week boasted its best ever line-up of offshore racing superstars including François Gabart, Michel Desjoyeaux, Alex Thomson, Dee Caffari, Vincent Riou, Jean Le Cam, Seb Josse, Brian Thompson, Sidney Gavignet. The event this year was contested by two 70ft trimarans and six IMOCA 60 monohulls who fought to claim their share of the £10,000 charity prize fund.
After a short delay due to the light winds in the morning, the fleet set off east with the tide, downwind from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at 10:15 in bright sunshine. The course for the elongated ORMA 60 Gitana 11 took the lead the MOD70 Oman Air-Musandam, was a clockwise circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight. Oman Air-Musandam failed to recover from an OCS, despite having Laser gold medallist Paul Goodison among her crew. The breeze properly filled in at around midday and it was Gitana 11 that was first to arrive back in Cowes in a time of four hours and 16 minutes.
Gitana 11 Skipper Seb Josse, donated £2,500 to his nominated charity of Joves Navegants. The Sidney Gavignet skippered Oman Air-Musandam finished just 11 minutes behind.
Paul Goodison commented: “It was great – I have never been that way around the island, quite interesting. Pleasure to sail with new people and it’s so cool, so fast. We were going over 20 knots, super powerful, really fast.”
Meanwhile, the six IMOCA 60s having exited the eastern Solent were racing a course in Halying Bay. After a smartly dressed crew on Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss led out of the Solent down to the Nab Tower on the next lap back to the Nab Tower it was the VPLP-Verdier designed MACIF, skippered by Vendée Globe winner François Gabart, with mentor and legendary French racer Michel Desjoyeaux on board that powered through to take the win. MACIF finished back in Cowes in a time of four hours and 32 minutes and donated their £2,500 winnings to the SNSM.
“It was a perfect day," commented François Gabart. "We were not expecting to win but on the start line of any race we always try hard to win. We have a good team and a good boat. It wa a tricky start with non wind and difficult to catch a gust. We were lucky to catch the wind and had a good fight with Hugo Boss. MACIF is very close to SNSM, they give 6% of all fees for boat insurance to SNSM and have done for 30 years, so I’m happy to help such an organisation.”
Finishing third after a late charge was PRB, followed by Safran, Artemis Ocean Racing and finally Cheminées Poujoulat.
Alex Thomson commented: “It was great – a good wind in the end. Tough start but we got powered up and it was fun. We were all wearing suits – it wasn‘t too bad for as I didn’t do much grinding. The Artemis Challenge is a fun day for charity. It was the first time on a boat, he enjoyed sitting on the rail but by the end he was directing people around. All in all, a good practice before the Fastnet.”
All the boats were also competing as two teams to claim a £5,000 prize fund (each team was made up of one multihull and three monohulls chosen at random before the race). The team with the fastest total combined elapsed time was that of Edmond de Rothschild, Hugo Boss, Artemis Ocean Racing and Safran, with each skipper receiving £1,250 to donate to their nominated charities.
Final results for the Artemis Challenge at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2013:
Position Boat / Skipper Finish Time (BST)/Charity
1 Gitana/Seb Josse (FRA)/2:26 PM/£2,500 for Joves Navegants
2 Oman Air-Musandam/Sidney Gavignet (FRA)/2:36 PM/Al Hayat
1 Macif/Francois Gabard(FRA)/2:47 PM/£2,500 for SNSM
2 Hugo Boss/Alex Thomson (GBR)/2:49 PM/Kibera in Need
3 PRB/Vincent Riou (FRA)/2:50 PM/SNSM
4 Safran/Marc Guillemot (FRA)/2:52 PM/AFMTelethon
5 Artemis Ocean Racing/Brian Thompson (GBR)/2:56 PM/Toe in the Water
6 Cheminées Poujoulat/Bernard Stamm (SUI)/2:57 PM/Planete Enfants
£5,000 Edmond de Rothschild, Hugo Boss, Artemis Ocean Racing and Safran
£1,250 each to Joves Navegants, Kibera in Need, Toe in the Water, AFMTelethon