From Finn to Figaro

Mark Lloyd /
Ben Ainslie's training partner Mark Andrews on the gruelling Artemis Offshore Academy selection
The Artemis Offshore Academy is no stranger to Olympic sailors wanting to try their hand at something different. 49er medallist Simon Hiscocks was selected in the first trials held in 2010. This year presently waiting to hear if he has got the nod is the rather taller Mark Andrews, part of Britain’s elite Olympic Finn squad and perhaps best known as training partner to Ben Ainslie. Andrews, 26, heralds from Largs in Scotland, although he has English parents, who moved north of the border when he was eight. He first started sailing aged 11 but admits didn’t really get into it until he was 14 when he got into a Laser. However Andrews has always been tall - currently at 6ft 6.5 (or 199cm) he is taller even than his towering Finn squad teammate Giles Scott. Thus even as a teenager his time in the Lasers was going to be limited. “After competing in a light wind Youth trials, I felt ‘the Laser is not for me’ and I went and bought a Finn the following weekend,” Andrews recalls of when he was 17, and even then weighed 90kg. Equipped with his new boat he started competing on the Finn’s UK circuit before moving up to do the European and World Championship (his first Finn Gold Cup was in Russia in 2005) eventually ending up, aged 19, in the British Finn transitional squad.  Racing in the competitive Olympic heavyweight men’s singlehander has always been tough, but in 2010 and 2012 Andrews finished in the top 10 at the Finn Gold Cup and just prior to London 2012 was fifth at Skandia Sail for Gold. Andrews' latest results were no doubt helped by being Ben Ainslie’s training partner. After TeamOrigin wound up and the Olympic legend began focussing on the Finn again, he found the