Cervantes Trophy - Double Artemis success in Le Havre

A great start to the season for the Artemis double-handed skippers
Sailing across the Cervantes Trophy finish line early evening in Le Harve, France on Saturday 4th May, Artemis Offshore Academy double-handed Figarists Sam Matson and Robin Elsey (Artemis 21) and Alex Garder and Dyfrig Mon (Artemis 43) finished the 110 mile race, their first race of the 2013 season, first and second in the 19 boat double-handed class, second and fourth in the IRC 2 class and sixth and 10th out of 104 boats overall.

After what turned into a fairly brisk drag race from the RYS line Cowes to Le Harve via the A5 mark, Sam and Robin only discovered that they’d topped the class leaderboard when the congratulatory Facebook notifications started rolling in: 'On crossing the finish line at around 20:47, happy without race we turned the boat around and started back for the UK straightaway' Robin explained. 'Only when we hit the UK 3G somewhere in the channel did we realise we’d done so well!'

'I don’t think we could ask for a better result for the first race of the season,' Sam continued. 'I’m incredibly happy. The conditions were in our favour, but I certainly felt that all of our hard work over the winter had paid off.

Setting off from the RYS start line in Cowes, UK at 10:20 BST that day, the wind whipped across the Solent, blowing between 20-28 knots with gusts of up to 37 knots – slightly different to the forecast 10 knots for the start. However, the Academy skippers used the stronger winds to their advantage, having been training in similar conditions all winter.

'The start was undoubtedly a high point for me,' continued Sam, 'as everything seemed to fall into place allowing us to cross the line at full pace, big spinnaker flying, only seconds after the gun had gone.'

A not so tired, but hungry Sam and Robin after winning their class - 2013 Cervantes Trophy

'We’re pleased with our performance and we outdid our expectations with our result,' Artemis 43 skipper Dyfrig reported. 'But comparing our race to Sam and Robin’s, we still need to work on how far we can push the boat without making mistakes. I think this confidence is something that will come as we gain more racing experience.'

Dyfrig and Alex take it in turns to helm - 2013 Cervantes Trophy

Once clear of Solent, the 104 boat Cervantes Trophy fleet converged into one long line, as the boats started on the 85 mile drag race to Le Harve, sailing at an average boat speed of around 10 knots. At this point in the race, the boats were not the only things reaching, with Sam getting caught in a bought of seasickness down below due to Robin’s abstract helming technique. Meanwhile, Alex and Dyfrig were enjoying the chase of their first ever race.

'Cutting past other boats up the fleet was a great feeling' Alex recalled. 'We’d been following a boat, Foggy Due (JPK 10.10), the whole way and as we rounded the last mark ahead of the finish, we popped the kite, I pushed Dyfrig off the helm and we just overtook them on the line. A small victory, and stolen from Dyfrig, but it was a highlight for me!'

Alex and Dyfrig were happy with their first Figaro racing performance - 2013 Cervantes Trophy

'The first race of the season for all four Artemis double-handers and the first race since joining the Academy for Alex and Dyfrig, this weekend’s results against a tough Cervantes Trophy fleet were a promising start for the sailors and gratification for the hard work both pairs have put in this winter. The skippers have set the bar now, let’s hope their success will continue,' concluded Academy Performance director John Thorn.

Next on the calendar for the Artemis Offshore Academy double-handed duos is the RORC Myth of Malham over the 25th and 26th of May. In the meantime, you can catch up with Sam, Robin, Alex and Dyfrig in their post-race blogs here and via the Artemis Offshore Academy Facebook and Twitter.

Top three Double Handed class results (19 boats):

Boat name/Boat type/Elapsed time/Handi-cap

1. Artemis 21/Figaro Beneteau II/10:27:07/1.087
2. Artemis 43/Figaro Beneteau/10:41:28/1.087
3. Tusen Takk II/JPK 9.60/11:53:43/0.979

Top three and Academy IRC 2 Class overall results (19 boats):

Boat name/Boat type/Elapsed time/Handi-cap

1. Courrier Vintage/MC34 Patton/9:54:35/1.053
2. Artemis 21/Figaro Beneteau II/10:27:07/1.087
3. La Réponse/ First 40/10:38:14/1.086
4. Artemis 43/Figaro Beneteau/10:41:28/1.087

Top three and Academy overall results (104 boats):

Boat name/Boat type/Elapsed time/Handi-cap

1. Courrier Vintage/MC34 Patton/9:54:35/1.053
2. Magnum III/Ker 40/8:55:05/1.193
3. Tonerre de Bresken/Ker 46/8:31:24/1.272
6. Artemis 21/Figaro Beneteau II/10:27:07/1.087
10. Artemis 43/Figaro Beneteau/10:41:28/1.087

Artemis Offshore Academy website