Our record setting Round the Isle of Wight voyage

James Boyd Photography / www.thedailysail.com
With Michel Desjoyeaux, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Ian Walker on the MOD70 Foncia
The Artemis Challenge has proved its fair share of excitement for us over the years. The first year we sailed it with Mike Sanderson aboard Pindar, an early outing for the Juan K penned IMOCA 60, culminated in a sorry dismasting soon after passing the Needles. This year our Artemis Challenge was more positive and much more exhilarating. Traditionally the Artemis Challenge has been a lap of the Isle of Wight during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, solely for the IMOCA 60s. But this year, with many of the Open 60 teams in the final throws of preparation for this autumn’s Vendee Globe, so the MOD 70 trimarans were invited, the Artemis Challenge fitting in nicely between the end of the one design trimarans’ Krys Ocean Race and the start of their European Tour. Surprisingly for a man who has won the OSTAR and the Route du Rhum, who has twice won the Vendee Globe and three times La Solitaire du Figaro, Michel Desjoyeaux had never visited Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week before and the last time he raced in the Solent was when Mumm 36s were at their peak and he was competing in a French team with the likes of Jimmy Pahun and Gery Trentesaux. While the Artemis Challenge in previous years has been in relatively benign conditions, this year from some way out the forecast was indicating 20+ knots from the south and the prospect of beating the outright record for the lap of the Isle of Wight seemed plausible, although in the final forecast in the morning conditions appeared to have dropped slightly. The time to beat was set in 2001 by the late Steve Fossett and the crew of the 125ft maxi-catamaran PlayStation and stood at 2 hours 33 minutes 55 seconds. According to Brian Thompson they