Training with the best of the best

Sam Goodchild on his Figaro and Class40 sailing and hanging out with the Port la Foret elite
Sam Goodchild, winner of the first Artemis Offshore Academy scholarship, enters his third season in the Figaro this year. This will put him on a par with the other Sam, Sam Davies, in terms of British skippers who’ve spent most time in this unique ultra-competitive shorthanded offshore one design class. The question is – can Goodchild make an impact on the Figaro fleet, whose ranks include the best shorthanded offshore racing skippers, both past and present. For example this year the line-up for the class’ premier event, La Solitaire, is set to feature at least five past winners including the victors of the last four races - Nicolas Lunven (2009), Armel le Cleac’h (2010), Jeremie Beyou (2011), and Yann Elies (2012). They are to be joined by one time boss of Kelt Yachts (remember them?) Gilles le Baud, who won the event twice in 1973 and 1978 when it was known as the Course de l'Aurore. Goodchild is now no longer part of the Artemis Offshore Academy, from which he ‘graduated’ last season. Despite this he and fellow ex-AOA sponsorship winner Henry Bomby are successfully soldiered on in the Figaro class. They have managed to acquire boats and raise enough funds to be on the start line of June’s all-important Solitaire. Among Goodchild’s partners is champagne maker Pol Roger, while Peter Harding is backing Goodchild in return for him racing aboard 40 Degrees this season. Goodchild is also receiving the equivalent to around £10,000 in support from Artemis through reduced price access to the Artemis Offshore Academy’s shore support for this year’s Figaro races. Other partners of Goodchild’s campaign are to be announced imminently. While historically the Solitaire du Figaro has been held in August, it is a blessing for Goodchild that this year, like last, it is being held in June. This