The Artemis Offshore Academy Selection Trials for the 2014 Development Squad will take place in the UK between the 18th - 21st July, with applications closing on the 28th June – so don’t delay and apply today. The new intake into the 2014 Development Squad will be following in the footsteps of Academy Graduates Sam Goodchild, Nick Cherry and Henry Bomby, all currently competing in the Solitaire du Figaro; and could next summer find themselves racing in the Rookie Division, as are current Academy Development Squad members Ed Hill and Jack Bouttell – who is leading the Rookie Division at the halfway stage. If Jack holds onto his advantage over the remaining two legs, he will become the first British sailor to ever win the Solitaire du Figaro Rookie title. Seeing five British sailors not only competing but excelling in this tough Figaro race, alongside the outstanding Class Mini and RORC results for the other Development Squad members, is testament to both the sailors talents and that of the Artemis Offshore Academy in nurturing those talents.
The Artemis Offshore Academy fleet racing in Weymouth during the 2012 Selection Trials
Established in 2010, the Artemis Offshore Academy is the UK’s only centre of excellence for solo and short-handed offshore racing, giving British sailors the chance to train exclusively in the discipline. Physically and mentally demanding, highly competitive and all encompassing, single and short-handed racing requires a unique skill set, with the multi day Artemis Offshore Academy Selection Trials being designed to push candidates to their limit, to find out if they have what it takes to be competitive on one of the most demanding and dynamic racing circuits in the world. 'The annual Academy Selection Trials are an opportunity for any sailor, male or female , with a proven sailing track record, be it dinghy, match racing, Olympic or offshore to test their solo potential,' detailed Academy Performance Director John Thorn. 'Long solitary hours, sleep deprivation and the rigor of ultra-competitive racing demands that solo offshore sailors are in peak physical and mental condition; when the going gets tough, a solo sailor only has him or herself to rely on.'
Jack competing for his place during the 2012 Selection Trials
To ensure the successful candidates have the potential to cope with the arduous training and racing programme, the Selection Trials will be based on a three day long (72 hours) race simulation exercise, where the sailors will face many of the challenges that will confront them in a solo or short-handed sailing race. These tasks will include personal and boat preparation, physical fitness, competition both on and off the water and the opportunity to problem solve both as individuals and as part of a small team. Above all Academy candidates will have to plan well, prioritise effectively, set realistic goals, contend with serious sleep deprivation and be able to motivate and push themselves ever onwards towards a successful race result, demonstrating their potential to join the Academy. 'Development Squad candidates require a high level of fitness from the outset,' Performance Director John continued. 'While fitness monitoring and training are included in the Academy programme, successful Selection Trials applicant should be able to achieve a prescribed minimum level of fitness.' - Press ups – Must be able to achieve between 45 - 54 - Chin ups - Must be able to achieve between 11 – 15 - 5k run – Must be able to complete in between 21 – 25 minutes - Concept 2 minute rowing test/O'Neill test – Must be able to reach a level of 1203 or more. - Bleep test – Must be able to reach level 10 – 11
Alex Gardner puts his upper body to the strength in the 5 max rep test
If selected, successful Trials applicants will train with the Academy’s full time Development squad, gaining experience on the solo offshore-racing circuit in preparation for the highlight of the Figaro calendar, the prestigious Solitaire du Figaro. Only sailors who show determination, aptitude and a willingness to improve throughout the race season will be considered for the Academy’s entry in the Solitaire du Figaro. 'We are now well into our third season of the Academy project and we have seen some outstanding results in Class Figaro, Class Mini and Royal Ocean Racing Club events. Individual wins, podium finishes and this year, in the Solitaire du Figaro, the best results yet against one of the strongest fleets of solo Figaro sailors that the class has seen for many years. The Academy sailors are sailing amongst the biggest names and most talented sailors in solo sailing and proving they have the boat speed and skill to be competitive,' Thorn concluded.
The military style bleep test
Competing in the Solitaire du Figaro is the first rung on the solo offshore ladder towards the offshore challenge of a lifetime, the Vendée Globe – an epic 24,000 solo round the world race nicknamed ‘the Everest of sailing’. Following in the footsteps of British solo offshore greats Ellen MacArthur, Mike Golding, Dee Caffari, Samantha Davies and Alex Thomson, it is the overall ambition of the Artemis Offshore Academy to put its solo British skippers in good contention to one day win the Vendée Globe. If what you’ve just read left you hungry for the challenge, then apply now for the Selection Trials and GO SOLO with the Artemis Offshore Academy in 2013/14. Artemis Offshore Academy
Aaron Cooper and Henry Bomby in their homemade boat during the 2011 Sikaflex Challenge