ICOM Cup Méditérranée - Artemis Offshore Academy skippers excel

The Academy skippers favoured the pin end of the line for the start of leg three
Artemis Offshore Academy skippers Jack Bouttell (Artemis 77) and Ed Hill (Artemis 37) alongside graduate sailor Henry Bomby (Artemis 23) finish the three-stage ICOM Cup Méditérranée regatta, after sailing 365nm over six days of competition. For ‘rookies’ Ed and Jack it was their first solo yacht race, whilst for Henry it was his first race of the 2013 season and they were all embracing the challenge.

'The race was an opportunity for the skippers to measure themselves against experienced Solitaire du Figaro competitors and at various points during the event, Henry, Ed and Jack have all been up there in contention with two of the best Figaro sailors in the class,' reported Performance Director John Thorn.

It was a very light start to the race for the twelve competing skippers - 2013 ICOM Cup Méditérranée
ICOM Cup Méditérranée

The regatta was the first official competition of the 2013 Figaro season after an intensive three-month winter training period - a steep learning curve for the sailors. The first 24 hour long stage of the event was a wet and windy 160 nautical mile race from La Grande Motte to Marseille, this race highlighted the promising talent that Ed and Jack possess, with Ed finishing in third and Jack in fifth.

Ed’s podium finish was no fluke: 'Before the start I decided that a southerly route would be more advantageous and I stuck to my plan, which paid off and it felt good to lead the fleet around the second mark.'

A happy Jack after finishing this morning's race - 2013 ICOM Cup Méditérranée
Alongside Ed, Jack was also racing with the leaders for a spell and held onto second place before the fleet converged to round the second mark when Ed took the lead. Unfortunately Henry was one of three sailors who had to retire from leg one after damaging the headsail luff grove (a plastic channel that runs up the forward mast support wire, that the Genoa ‘sits’ in) during a sail change in the night with big seas and strong winds. Read the leg one report here.

The second stage of the race was a much shorter inshore 10 nautical mile race: 'We had about six knots for the start, which built up to as much as 20kts at some points, before dropping back to 6kts for the finish. It was a short but frustrating race, but I’m learning a lot and was a good experience,' explained Jack. Read the leg two race report here.

The final 195nm leg back to La Grande Motte took around 48 hours to complete and was a real chance for the sailors to put their solo offshore ability to the test with two nights at sea. Henry was on a mission to prove himself going into the third race: 'My aim for the final leg was to race front runners Xavier Macaire, Jean-Pierre Nicol and Pietro D’Ali to the finish and get a result I could be happy with. After a bad start for me in 11th, I spent the first half of the race pushing my way through the fleet into fourth. Although I didn’t race the leading pack across the finish line, I did win the race that raged between Jack, Matthieu Girolet, David Keneflick and myself – so I’m happy with that.' Read the leg three race report here.

Overall this set of races has been the first competitive test for the Artemis sailors, and has provided just the lessons they needed to move forward before the competition ramps up significantly for the next race in just four weeks’ time : 'Going into our next race, the Solo Arrimer, I’ll try to stay more in touch with the fleet – in this regatta I made a few bold decisions that at times paid off and others didn't. The race also boats more top level skippers including Vendée Globe skipper Jeremie Beyou, and racing against them will be an opportunity to learn more in a larger fleet of exceptional sailors,' furthered Ed.

Ed looks on the brightside despite his final strategy not going to plan - 2013 ICOM Cup Méditérranée

As one race finishes, another begins with Academy Mini skipper, Nikki Curwen, set to embark on her first solo Class Mini race, the 190nm Solo Roma-Solo Race, kicking off on Friday at 11:00 GMT. Follow it here.

Academy Mini sailor Nikki Curwen

Overall ICOM Cup Méditérranée results:

Position/Skipper/Figaro no./Nationality/Time

1. Xavier Macaire/8/FRA/2d, 16h, 26' 10'
2. Jean Pierre Nicol/68/FRA/2d, 18h, 30' 49'
3. Matthieu Girolet/86/FRA/2d, 22h, 27' 13'
4. Pietro d’Ali/42/ITA/2d, 22h, 52' 30'
5. Jack Bouttell/77/GBR/2d, 23h, 01' 05'
6. Gwenael Gbick/29/FRA/3d, 00h, 15' 49'
7. Ed Hill/37/GBR/3d, 00h, 33', 00'
8. Yves Ravot/31/FRA/3d, 00h, 35' 05'
9. Alexia Barrier/49/FRA/3d, 02h, 11' 55'
10.Henry Bomby/23/GBR/4d, 2h, 29' 23'
11.David Kenefick/45/IRL/4d, 02h, 38' 01'
12.Jean Paul Mouren/13/FRA/5d, 06h, 20' 40'

Stage one results:

Position/Skipper/Figaro no./Nationality/Time

1. Matthieu Girolet/86/FRA/1d, 2h, 49' 17'
2. Xavier Herault/8/FRA/1d, 3h, 07' 57'
3. Ed Hill/37/GBR/1d, 3h, 08h, 18'
4. Yves Ravot/31/FRA/1d, 3h, 10' 51'
5. Jack Bouttell/77/GBR/1d, 3h, 22' 54'
6. Gwenael Gbick/29/FRA/1d, 4h, 32' 25'
7. Alexia Barrier/49/FRA/1d, 4h, 38' 36'
8. Jean-Pierre Nicol/68/FRA/1d, 4h, 56' 36'
9. Pietro D'Ali/42/ITA/1d, 5h, 16' 52'
RTR Jean-Paul Mouren/13/FRA/2d, 6h, 52' 00'
RTR David Kenefick/45/IRL/2d, 6h, 52' 00'
RTR Henry Bomby/23/GBR/2d, 6h, 52' 00'

Stage two results:

Position/Skipper/Figaro no./Nationality/Time

1. Xavier Macaire/8/FRA/1d, 35h, 54'
2. Jean Paul Mouren/13/FRA/1d, 36h, 41'
3. Jean Pierre Nicol/68/FRA/1d, 37h, 06'
4. David Kenefick/45//IRL/1d, 37h, 52'
5. Pietro D'Ali/42/ITA/1d, 38h, 03'
6. Matthieu Girolet/86/FRA/1d, 38h, 13'
7. Gwenael Gbick/29/FRA/1d, 38h, 04'
8. Jack Bouttel/77/GBR/1d, 39h, 13'
9. Henry Bomby/23/GBR/1d, 39h, 28'
10. Ed Hill/37/GBR/1d, 39h, 32'
11. Alexia Barrier/49/FRA/1d, 41h, 05'
12. Yves Ravot/31/FRA/1d, 41h, 19'

Stage three results:

Position/Skipper/Figaro no./Nationality/Time

1. Xavier Macaire/8/FRA/1d, 11h, 42' 16'
2. Jean Pierre NicoL/68/FRA/1d, 11h, 57' 10'
3. Pietro d’Ali/42/ITA/1d, 15h, 57' 35'
4. Henry Bomby/23/GBR/1d, 17h, 57' 55'
5. David Kenefick/45/IRL/1d, 18h, 08' 09'
6. Jack Bouttell/77/GBR/1d, 17h, 58' 58'
7. Matthieu Girolet/86/FRA/1d, 17h, 59' 43'
8. Gwenael Gbick/29/FRA/1d, 18h, 05' 10'
9. Ed Hill/37/GBR/1d, 19h, 45' 10'
10. Yves Ravot/31/FRA/1d, 19h, 42' 55'
11. Alexia Barrier/49/FRA/1d, 19h, 52' 14'
RTR Jean Paul Mouren/13/FRA/2d, 21h, 51' 59'

Artemis Offshore Academy website