Thursday, 23 May 2013

Solitaire du Figaro : Patton Watches and the Artemis Offshore Academy join forces in Bordeaux

by Artemis Offshore Academy media

The Artemis Offshore Academy is delighted to welcome Patton Watches to their family of partners for the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro. French watchmakers Patton, will be the official timekeeper of the six ‘Anglo-Irish’ sailors taking on the legendary 1,938 mile race that starts on Sunday, 2nd June from Bordeaux (France). Academy skippers Ed Hill and Jack Bouttell plus Graduates Nick Cherry, Henry Bomby and Sam Goodchild along with Irish skipper David Kenefick will each receive the latest Patton watch, the P42 Immersion steel carbon watch, to keep time during the Solitaire du Figaro and the inter-Artemis Offshore Academy ‘Patton Challenge’ – a race within a race. Unlike the Solitaire itself, which is scored on elapsed time, the six Anglo-Irish boats competing in the Patton Challenge will receive points for their position over the four racing legs, which conclude in Dieppe (France). The champion of the Patton Challenge will win an upgrade to the latest release in the Patton watch range – the Patton Harken Regatta watch. Find out more about Patton Harken and watch the promo video here.
The Patton Harken prize watch © Patton Watches

For Academy Rookies Ed and Jack, the 1,938 mile Solitaire du Figaro is no longer a dream and the imminent arrival of some of the world’s most celebrated offshore sailors in Bordeaux later this week is very real. After seeing his Figaro 77 through measurement yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 21st May), the proximity of the race washed over Jack like a cold Atlantic bow shower, with less that two weeks to prepare for his biggest challenge to date: “With measurement now passed and out the way, the Solitaire du Figaro is happening. The boat and I are on our way to Bordeaux to take on over 40 of the best solo offshore sailors out there in the biggest race in the Figaro calendar.” Read Jack’s latest blog, ‘not long now’, online here.
Jack Bouttell is on route to Bordeaux © N.Bomby

On Friday 24th May, the six boat Artemis Offshore Academy ‘Anglo-Irish’ alliance will make their way up river from Pauillac alongside the other 36 skippers in the fleet in preparation for Leg 1 starting June 2nd from Bordeaux to Porto (Portugal), but first they have to get there: “On the approach to the city, there is a bridge that only opens at 18:30 BST with the tide to let cruise ships through,” explained Ed. “On Friday, 42 Figaros will have to get past the cruise ship and through the bridge before it closes and won’t be opened again until the race start. It should be interesting!”

Once in Bordeaux, the build up begins and to celebrate the joining of the Academy’s latest partner, Jack, Ed, Sam Goodchild, Nick Cherry, Henry Bomby and David Kenefick will be available at the Patton Watches retail stand in the Solitaire du Figaro race village at the Fete le Fleuve in Bordeaux, from the 24th May to 2nd June, to sign commemorative posters and postcards; and, of course, show off their smart new time pieces!
Nick Cherry and Ed Hill sample the red delights of Pauillac © Artemis Offshore Academy

Leg 1 of the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro kicks off from Bordeaux on Sunday 2nd June at 12:00 BST, running 536 miles to Porto where the stage is expected to finish on Wednesday 5th June. The sailors may be fresh for the fight and raring to go, but Leg 1 of this epic race will be no picnic, with the length of each leg (four) exceeding that of any solo race Rookies Ed and Jack have tackled before, combined with the exit out of the Gironde estuary being a particularly tricky one, as Race Coach Marcus Hutchinson described: “Getting out of an estuary might sound straight forward, but I wouldn’t think it’s going to be easy. The Gironde is a 35-mile stretch of river and the wind will be shifty regardless of strength and direction. The current will also be either stronger or weaker than the ‘average’; quite simply this is a river estuary with two of France’s largest and most prolific rivers pouring their contents downhill to the Atlantic. The order coming out of the river, I believe, will be almost reflected in the first leg finishing order some 500 miles later in Porto.”

You can keep up with the fleet in the build up to the Solitaire du Figaro via the brand new Artemis Offshore Academy website and via Facebook and Twitter.