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Displaying items by tag: solo sailing

Nine solo offshore sailing hopefuls, from across the UK,  have today been selected as the first Development Squad of the Artemis Offshore Academy.  The Academy, sponsored by the investment management company Artemis, was set up earlier this year to nurture British offshore sailing talent.  The long-term aspiration of the Academy is to put a British sailor in a position to win the solo Vendée Globe in 2016 or 2020.

From an original list of over 50 applicants, those who made it to the shortlist were put through a grueling mental and physical selection process.  They were pushed well beyond their comfort zones with nine ultimately chosen to be part of the Development Squad:

•    Oliver Bond (30, Southampton)
•    Nick Cherry (25, Birmingham/Southampton)
•    Sam Goodchild (20, Southampton)
•    Simon Hiscocks (37, Surrey/Portland)
•    Nick Houchin (26, Tadley, Hampshire)
•    Nigel King (41, Lymington)
•    Becky Scott (24, Scotland/Fleet)
•    Phil Sharp (29, Jersey)
•    Oliver Young (22, Saltash)

As part of the Squad, they will begin a winter-long programme where they will develop the skills needed to perform as a world class offshore sailor.  The Academy will be based from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy until the end of November when they will relocate to La Grande Motte Figaro School (CEM).  From here CEM Director Franck Citeau will manage a full programme for the sailors through to the end of March.  At that point one of the Squad will be selected for the scholarship which will enable them to race in the 2011 French Figaro circuit in one of the Artemis Figaro boats.  The remaining Squad will continue to train and take part in a series of races throughout 2011, including Royal Ocean Racing Club's most famous race the Rolex Fastnet Race, and the Tour du Bretagne at the end of September.

The group will be bolstered by two associate members, 36 year old Pip Hare (Felixstowe) and 37 year old Conrad Humphreys (Plymouth) who, instead of being provided with equipment and costs, will bring their own campaign to train with the Academy.  As the project develops, the aim is that more people will move on from the Development Squad to become associate members and keep training with the Academy.

Sailors will remain in the Development Squad for as long as they are attaining pre-agreed training goals.  The aim is to allow sailors the time in the Figaro boats to develop their skills before moving into other classes or finding their own funding for a campaign.  Further selections to top up the squad will be held in April and September 2011.

Conrad Humphreys commented: "When the Artemis Offshore Academy was announced earlier this year, I immediately thought it was not only a great idea but also the missing link for UK aspiring and seasoned solo sailors.  No one would argue that when compared to our French counterparts, we simply do not do enough collaborative training or development in between the major events. The Figaro championship is one of the best programmes for short-handed development and there is no secret to the fact that every Vendée Globe winner maintains close links with the class. I hope the Artemis Offshore Academy will become a place to nurture new talent and provide Associate sailors like myself with support to compete at the top level. I will be looking for a sponsor to do the Solitaire du Figaro in 2011 and the Transat in 2012 and I look forward to working with the rest of the squad over the coming 12 months."

Simon Hiscocks commented: "The British success in the Olympics is a direct result of a very long programme that the RYA has run right from the grass roots getting people learning to sail up to winning Olympic gold medals. And that whole thing has a massive structure behind it - you name it they are on it.  Hopefully we can transfer that success into this field through this programme. The Artemis Offshore Academy opens up a whole new world of opportunities, not least of which is potentially being able to do the Vendée Globe, and I am really excited to be part of it."

John Thorn, Artemis Offshore Academy Performance Director commented:
"From their application and CVs, we knew we had the sailors.  It was then more a question of trying to identify some of the other traits that we felt were an important part of success in short sailing and offshore sailing.  There were lots of elements that we were looking for.

The nine development squad members that we have chosen have got tremendous potential – and we looked at that potential over short, medium and long term.  But they are experienced sailors, they are technical competent sailors and they have the desire to win.

We will identify what the sailors need and we will deliver that, using the best coaches, the best venues, the best resources we can. We'll give them everything they need in order to be successful.

I am tremendously optimistic and truly believe, because we are building a foundation for long term success, that we will see an Artemis Offshore Academy sailor on the podium for the Vendée Globe. It is an incredibly exciting time and this is just the beginning."

Published in Offshore

Professional sailor Steve White has announced his intention to break the current world record for circumnavigating the globe single-handed, non-stop the "wrong way", against the prevailing winds and currents. Steve will be sailing a Volvo Open 70, which would usually be crewed by ten people. Taking place this winter, the attempt will mark the 40th anniversary of the original record set by Sir Chay Blyth (CBE BEM) on 'British Steel', who embarked on the epic journey described by The Times in 1970 as the 'Impossible Voyage'. The current record for completing the 22,000 mile course is 122 days, 14 hours and 4 minutes, and is held by Frenchman Jean Luc Van Den Heede.

Steve White says, "After the amazing experience of the 2008 Vendée Globe, it seemed like the right time to focus my attention on this record that I have been thinking about for a long time, and which fits in nicely before the next Vendée Globe in 2012.  The record is acknowledged as probably the hardest and certainly the most gruelling record in sailing, and I am under no illusions about the enormity of the task in hand, both of sailing upwind and against the current in the Southern Ocean, and about the power and size of the boat we have chosen. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is a legend and his record will be tough to beat, but I think it is achievable"

Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM commented, "It's wonderful that Steve is planning to attempt what many regard as the ultimate sailing challenge.  Hundreds have completed the voyage following the classic Eastabout route but doing this in reverse is a quantum leap removed, which is why only 5 people including Mike Golding and Dee Caffari have tried it.  It takes a special character to tackle the trip and Steve is an extremely experienced yachtsman who I believe has the right skills, tenacity and determination to set a new World record." When asked if he would be tempted back to re-trace his footsteps Chay said, "Not a hope in hell."

The team at White Ocean Racing are currently looking for potential sponsorship partners who are interested in aligning themselves with such an outstanding example of human endeavour, which will attract massive UK and international media interest, and capture the imagination of people from all walks of life around the globe. The rewards of title sponsorship are exceedingly high, as this is a unique and steerable opportunity.

Steve added, "I have long pondered this record since reading both Chay's and Mike Golding's books on their respective attempts. With a very successful Vendée Globe behind me, and a team with a wealth of experience now in place, I am confident I can do this record justice. I really am more excited about this than I have been about anything else, and I am very much looking forward to crossing the start line. I will leave between October and December this year, depending on the arrival of a suitable weather window, and how soon we attract a sponsor".

For further information visit:  www.whiteoceanracing.com

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

Most of the news at the moment, save the Round-the-World antics of the Clipper fleet, is small boat stuff, close to shore. But there's one story drawing to a close that mixes both. Franco-Italian sailor Alessandro DiBenedetto is nearing completino of his solo, unassisted non-stop circumnavigation in a customised Mini Transat boat. He left Les Sables D'Olonne in November last year and is just shy of 1,000 miles from home, parallel with the coast of Portugal.

Like a true Frenchman he somehow has a herb garden on board his 21-foot boat, and his missive from yesterday, having caught a bream with a crossbow, read: 'Meanwhile, at noon, sea bream filets with olive oil, parsley from the garden and freeze-dried vegetables'.

Di Bennedetto's website is HERE, and while the updates are brief, they give a good insight into the mind of a single-minded, food-obsessed solo sailor.

Some gems:

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
No wind for 48 hours. Dolphins keep me company

Wednesday 9 June 
Alessandro has lengthened the bowsprit.

Sunday, April 18th, 2010     09:38 pm
To celebrate my passage round the Cape Horn this evening it is a party on board: Champagne very freshly, with "foie gras" and pastas with mushrooms and cream!

Monday, March 22, 2010 02:15 am
Beautiful sunshine these days in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.   Not a single ship in sight   from the South Atlantic ... Even the birds are rare. Sometimes a solitary albatross comes to visit me. The nearest point of earth is: Easter Island 1000 miles farther north.

 

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under
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