Monday, 10 August 2009

Stars out in Force for the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week

BT IMOCA 60 and the Ellen MacArthur Trust won the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week. Supplied image.

by Camilla Green

A fleet of star names from the worlds of sport, film and television took to the water in the Solent today for the third annual Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week. Zara Phillips, joined by her partner Mike Tindall, climbed onboard the powerful Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 to compete for the £10,000 charity prizefund on offer to the winning boat.

The famous couple sailed against eight other high speed offshore racing yachts, skippered by some of the world’s leading ocean sailors and featuring celebrity guests such as Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, James Phelps who plays Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter Films and his twin brother Oliver Phelps who plays George Weasley in the Harry Potter Films, and television actress, Denise Black.

Light winds for the 10 AM start off Cowes meant that instead of sprinting around the Isle of Wight as in previous years, the fleet took a route East out past the Solent forts before rounding the Nab Tower. As the wind strengthened through the morning, the race became a close battle between five of the leading yachts, including Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by British yachtswoman Sam Davies, and BT IMOCA 60, skippered by Frenchman Seb Josse, who had pulled in the help of Dame Ellen MacArthur as crew.

Artemis The Profit Hunter, skippered by Simon Clay and assisted by Bryan Adams, put in a strong performance amongst the newer, faster generation IMOCA 60s, which also included well known yachtswoman Dee Caffari on Aviva and Volvo Ocean Race winner Mike Sanderson at the helm of Pindar.

However, by mid-afternoon, the wind had died again and the course was shortened to finish at ‘No Man’s Fort’ which meant that Seb Josse and BT IMOCA 60 took first place, ahead of Pindar in second and Artemis The Profit Hunter in third. The win for BT means that they have scooped £10,000 for their nominated charity, the Ellen MacArthur Trust. The Ellen MacArthur Trust takes young people aged between 8-18 sailing to help them regain their confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illness.

Zara Phillips commented: “It was great to take part in the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week today and I’m very happy to have joined Sam Davies and the Artemis Ocean Racing team - seeing how everyone works together as a team is impressive. Sam and Sidney seem so cool and did an amazing job in hard weather conditions - at the end the wind went completely. They got us all involved in what was going on and we had a really good day.”

The Artemis Challenge welcomed the largest fleet of IMOCA 60s since the race’s inception in 2007. Commenting on the race, Artemis Investment Management CEO Mark Tyndall, who sailed onboard Artemis Ocean Racing, concluded, “The light winds and shortened course made for a very tactical and interesting race, which resulted in a precise game of cat and mouse and delivered a wonderful spectacle; the Artemis Challenge has gone from strength to strength each year.

We had a great bunch of really talented sailors in British waters today with a fantastic fleet of IMOCA 60s charging up the Solent. We were delighted to host such guests as Zara Phillips, Mike Tindall, Bryan Adams and Dame Ellen MacArthur to name but a few, and I would like to congratulate BT on a great win in testing circumstances, which will see the Ellen MacArthur Trust benefit from the £10,000 prizefund.”

Artemis Challenge 2009 Results:
1. BT IMOCA 60
2. Pindar
3. Artemis The Profit Hunter
4. Artemis Ocean Racing
5. Aviva
6. Akena Verandas
7. Grey Power
8. Toe in the Water
8. Pakea Bizkaia

Artemis Ocean Racing

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