The May Bank Holiday may come as a welcomed day off for many, but not for the Artemis Offshore Academy, as for the first time this season, the entire Artemis fleet will be out in force taking part in three milestone races over the three-day weekend.
The Artemis Offshore Academy double-handed duos
Artemis Offshore Academy double-handed Figarists, Alex Gardner and Dyfrig Mon (Artemis 43) and Sam Matson and Robin Elsey (Artemis 21), kick start the weekend with the Cervantes Trophy, setting off from Cowes on Saturday the 4th May at 10:20 BST. Having been working hard in training and on their boats between their University studies since November, the student sailors will put down their books and pull on the Musto wet weather gear, as they put this winters efforts to the test in the 120nm race from the RYS line to Le Harve, France, their first race competitive of the 2013 season.
Read ‘The dress rehearsal is over for the Artemis double-handed duos’ in full here.
Come Sunday, Artemis Offshore Academy Mini sailor Nikki Curwen will be preparing to complete the final race miles (from total of 1000nm) required to qualify for the Mini Transat in her first Class Mini race on home turf, the Fuel Cell Systems UK Solent 6.50. Sailing double-handed with co-skipper and preparateur Lizzy Foreman, the all-girl Artemis duo will set off on the fifth of May at 13:00 BST, sailing 290 miles from Lymington to Plymouth, via the Wolfe Rock.
Having secured two top ten finishing positions in her past two Mediterranean Mini races, Nikki looks forward the race in home waters and lining up against the UK Mini sailing community for the first time this season: 'It will be interesting to see how I measure up against the group, especially against Pip Hare, who is an experienced female Mini sailor and has already competed in the Mini Transat. I’m also looking forward to sailing with Lizzy, and of course, crossing the line and knowing that I’ve qualified for the Mini Transat.'
Read ‘Artemis Mini sailor Nikki Curwen gets set to qualify on home turf’ in full here.
Over the channel, it’s crunch time in Concarneau, as Artemis Offshore Academy skippers Jack Bouttell, Ed Hill, Sam Goodchild, Henry Bomby, Nick Cherry and ‘Full Irish’ sailor David Kenefick set their sails for the Solo Concarneau. This final test before the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro in one months’ time, sees the fleet cross the start line in Concarneau, France on Monday sixth of May at 14:00 BST, and race along 350 miles of the rugged Brittany coastline.
'It’s going to be a hard course, heading up through the infamous Raz de Sein, around some fairly epic rocks and back through the Glénans,' explained Jack, 'and the lighter winds will only make navigating around the rocky course more difficult. But it’s a good dry run for the Solitaire, as the Solo Concarneau follows some of the same course as the third leg of the race, from Gijon, Spain to Roscoff France.'
The Solo Concarneau comes as an important milestone for the Academy skippers, with the number of Artemis Offshore Academy boats competing in the Solitaire du Figaro set to be announced after this final indicator race: 'I’ve put everything into this season and to compete in the Solitaire is everything we’ve been working towards,' continued Jack. 'I’ve not been putting pressure on by thinking about the decision, but if I miss out on the race this time, I reckon I’ll be on the first plane to South America to go climbing and getting as far away from boats as possible, for a bit – to say I’d be disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how I’d feel.'
Read ‘It’s crunch time in Concarneau for the Artemis Offshore Academy soloists’ in full here.
Artemis Offshore Academy website