Friday, 25 June 2010

Artemis Investment Management Continues Its Commitment to British Sailing

Artemis Ocean Racing, Pindar & Arena IMOCA 60's racing in the Artemis Challenge 2009, © Lloyd Images.

by Camilla Green

Artemis Investment Management today announced their continued support of British sailing in 2010 across all levels from grass roots to fully professional ocean racing. This new commitment establishes Artemis as one of the longest and most significant existing supporters of British sailing.

Artemis Offshore Academy: Artemis will support a UK training programme of excellence for British short-handed sailors, providing a structure to bring talented sailors up through the ranks. Designed to help them win major offshore solo and short-handed races in the future, the ultimate goal is to put a British sailor in a strong position to win the Vendée Globe in 2016 or 2020. Artemis will continue their support of solo offshore sailor Jonny Malbon for this season and the first intake into the Academy will be competing for a scholarship to undertake a Figaro campaign.

Mini campaign: as part of the Academy programme, Artemis will provide a ‘race ready’ boat if an appropriate British sailor with proven potential is forthcoming to compete in this season.

Cowes Week 2010: Artemis will support Britain’s best-known sailing regatta this year in a partnership that will see competitor entry fees remain at the same level as 2009. They will also continue their support of the Red Arrows display on the final Friday, a spectacle enjoyed by thousands on and off the water.

Artemis Challenge 2010 confirmed: A successful event since 2007, and the only annual UK-based IMOCA race, the Artemis Challenge will feature an A-list of offshore racers and celebrities on 3rd August.

IMOCA 60: After 4 years of IMOCA 60 racing, Artemis Ocean Racing’s IMOCA 60 will compete in races to benefit up and coming talent, as well as the Artemis Challenge, but will not compete in the major IMOCA events at the end of the year. The boat will go on the market by the Autumn.

Since 2006 Artemis Ocean Racing has been active in the highly competitive IMOCA 60 class, competing in solo and double-handed races, building a radical new IMOCA 60 yacht, and entering the tough solo Vendée Globe non-stop round the world race. In addition to the sailing team, Artemis has also supported a number of IMOCA 60 events including The Artemis Transat 2008 and the annual Artemis Challenge, as well as supporting the Even Keel charitable project that utilises the Artemis 20 boat, designed for disabled sailors and used by Hilary Lister in her round Britain voyage.

Artemis Investment Management will now continue to support a number of initiatives from the grass roots up to fully professional racing in 2010. The next phase will concentrate on a long-term commitment to British solo sailing talent, with the objective to propel young British offshore solo talent to the fore.

Artemis Offshore Academy: Developing British Sailing Talent

With a long-term aspiration of putting a British sailor in a position to win the solo Vendée Globe in 2016 or 2020, the Artemis Offshore Academy is being formed to secure a pipeline of up-and-coming sailing talent. The Academy will provide a structure that can help all whose potential is yet to be fully realised.

An Advisory Board has been established to oversee the creation of the Academy with the objective of defining the selection and training process. The Advisory Board will consist of 6-7 ‘industry’ non-executive directors including Rod Carr (ex-RYA Chairman); two leading current short-handed sailors; Gilles Chiorri (OC Events Director and former top Figaro sailor); Edward Gorman (former sailing correspondent, The Times, now Deputy Foreign Editor); and Mark Turner (OC Group CEO) who can provide the necessary guidance and expertise. The Advisory Board will also start the process of recruiting the best coaches and mentors for the programme having studied and experienced the French training schools in Port La Foret and Le Grande Motte where Jonny Malbon has been training all winter for this year’s Figaro season.

“France are the benchmark nation in the single-handed ocean racing arena,” said Rod Carr. “In order to help move talented and determined British sailors from their current position to winning a race like the Vendée, we need to put in place a structured training programme that focuses the best advice in the world on a small group of talented sailors. Britain has the talent and technology to match France's current domination in this field - what we lack is a coordinated, co-operative approach that supports a personalised training programme for every sailor in the squad.”

The Artemis Offshore Academy will operate from a variety of bases to maximize the effectiveness of the training in British waters during the summer, including the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy, and in the South of France, La Grande Motte, already an established French Figaro school, in the winter. Four Figaro One-Design boats have already been purchased and are being refitted at OC’s Cowes base.

The Academy will focus on three groups of sailors:

• Development Squad of 8-12 sailors training on the Figaro boats, developing skills and able to qualify for the ‘Scholarship’ programme in the Figaro Class or Mini.
• Associate Sailors who have managed to get funding for their own campaign, may own a Figaro themselves, but who would benefit from the Academy’s coaching programmes.
• Ambassador Sailors who are already competing on the international short-handed stage but can benefit from being part of a knowledge sharing and coordinated training programme and, ultimately, assist in the career development of the next generation of short-handed sailors.

The aim is to have the first trainees on site from September with up to a dozen students training full-time and others on part-time or specific training modules. A selection process will take place twice a year in spring and autumn.

Samantha Davies, who skippered AOR II in the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre, commented: “I would say that my success in the last Vendée Globe was thanks to the ‘path’ I took to graduate into being an IMOCA 60 skipper. For me the Figaro is a compulsory step towards the Vendée Globe. What you learn in the Figaro is directly applied to your IMOCA 60. It is in this class that you learn the basics of top-level competitive solo-sailing, such as, auto-pilot management, sleep management, seamanship in storm conditions. In the Figaro Class solo racing is done at Olympic standard with respect to tactics, sail trim and rig tune, so if you are not training like an Olympic athlete you will not win! This is why a squad-system is the way forward. I benefited from the training with the Port La Foret squad as there was nothing available in the UK. The Academy will now be providing British short-handed sailors with the training base that we have been missing up until now.”

A shorter-term outcome of the programme will be to get the Academy trainees competing on the Figaro and Mini circuit before moving on to Class 40 and IMOCA 60 racing which is the natural progression to the top of the solo world.

Artemis Ocean Racing