Saturday, 9 April 2011

Sam Goodchild Awarded First Artemis Solo Scholarship in UK

by Artemis Ocean Racing media

Twenty-one-year-old Sam Goodchild from Southampton has been awarded the first Artemis Offshore Academy Scholarship to help him forge a competitive solo offshore racing career. Goodchild has now been given a significant boost to follow in the footsteps of Britain’s most well-known and successful solo sailors, such as, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Mike Golding, Samantha Davies and Dee Caffari.

As part of the year round training the Artemis Offshore Academy is providing to future British solo stars, there are two Scholarships awarded each year. One for the Mini-Transat and one for ‘La Solitaire du Figaro’ – considered the French pinnacle solo event that both the ‘rookies’ and round the world veterans come back to each year. This Scholarship is designed to give an additional boost to the chosen candidate, providing a fully funded season in a race-prepared Figaro, culminating in the 1695-mile solo challenge in August.

“It’s amazing to get this Scholarship for the Artemis Offshore Academy, it’s everything I could possibly want as a step forward to the Vendée Globe start line, whenever that may be. I am really excited about what there is to come,” said a jubilant Goodchild on hearing the news. “My sailing dream has been to do a Vendée Globe, and the aim of the Artemis Offshore Academy is to make sure that when a British sailor does the Vendée Globe they have the best chance of getting a respectable result. To be the first Brit to win the Vendée Globe would be amazing, Ellen MacArthur came second, which was amazing in itself, but it does leave the door open for there to be a first British winner. I am definitely aiming for that spot in the years to come.”

The Artemis Offshore Academy was created in June 2010 to provide 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 2020.

Sam Goodchild successfully joined the Artemis Offshore Academy Development Squad after impressing the judges at the first Selection Trials last September. The nine Development Squad members, that included double Olympic medalist Simon Hiscocks, UK Match Racing champion Nick Cherry, Route de Rhum winner Phil Sharp, have been on an intensive training programme based at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) and at the Centre d’Entrainement Mediterranée (CEM), La Grande Motte based Figaro School (south of France).

The sailors spent long hours training on the water in the five Artemis Figaro boats, and in the classrooms of the CEM, where they specialise in meteorology and race strategy. The squad also worked hard on their fitness, critical to the success of a short-handed sailor, who get little sleep when racing solo.

To qualify for the Scholarship the squad had to fulfil a set of pre-qualification criteria that included:

- A pre-set fitness level
- RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence
- Submit a sponsorship proposal
- Understand basic French to understand weather reports and submit a position report from the water
- Complete a minimum 30-hour solo passage
- Attend a minimum of 75% of the training programme
- Actively participate in social media and providing media content
- Compete in a series of indicator races

The indicator races were staged in February and March this year covering inshore, coastal and offshore courses, the longest being 250 miles offshore.

The process of selecting the Scholarship winner was not an easy one as Rod Carr, ex-CEO of the Royal Yachting Association who sits on the Academy Advisory Board, explained: “Each squad member had their own strengths and weaknesses and the final decision was a very tough one between three squad members. Sam met all the criteria and was strong enough in all of the areas for us to believe that he will be a strong competitor and embodies the ‘spirit’ to be a great solo sailor. He is a very talented young sailor and highly regarded by the French coaches as a talent for the future. He has proven himself capable of winning and, ultimately, had the right attitude that we believe will take him far.”

It was the Artemis Offshore Academy Advisory Board who sat down to make the final decision: “We were looking for a whole range of abilities, and we were looking at the long-term as well as the need for a well-rounded sailor with potential. Sam has grown up on boats, he has done numerous trans-atlantics and sailed the Pacific. He is very competitive and has raced in the Match Racing Youth Championships and was Youth Match Racing Champion. There was no doubt that he will be able to compete at a higher level,” commented John Thorn, Performance Director at the Academy.

Born in Bristol in 1989, Sam was just two weeks old when he began life at sea, living with his family on a boat in the Caribbean for eight years. He returned to the UK in 1998-99 to attend school in Falmouth before returning to Grenada to live for another five years. The big hurricane of 2005 resulted in Sam returning once again to the UK to attend boarding school in Oxford until 2008 and since then he has been traveling and working for sailing teams, returning to his base in Southampton.

Mike Golding, who has competed in the solo Vendée Globe three times, commented: “I have known Sam for some time now, previously he worked with Mike Golding Yacht Racing during our preparations for the Vendée Globe in 2008 with Ecover so we know him well. It is a great pleasure to now see him selected for the Scholarship. We have tracked his and all the candidates progress and development throughout the Academy training and race events with real interest, Sam’s performance has been exemplary especially when one considers the quality and experience of the other candidates. He is exactly the sort of individual who in years to come could provide the UK with a significant British challenger for the Vendée Globe and the IMOCA World Championship. I will be following his future development with interest”.

Sam will join Development Squad member, Nigel King, and Associate Sailor, Conrad Humphreys, who have both secured funding to campaign their own Figaro boats on the circuit this year, for an intensive training programme in preparation for the Solitaire du Figaro. This trio, supported by the Academy, will be the only Brits competing in the Solitaire du Figaro – considered to be a ‘rite of passage’ on the road to the Vendée Globe.

The remaining members of the Development Squad will continue to train and take part in a series of races throughout 2011, including the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Figaro Tour du Bretagne in September. The Development Squad members and the Artemis Figaro fleet are returning to the UK in May to begin that programme: “The Artemis Offshore Academy is not just about one winner each year. It’s about is laying the foundations and developing British solo sailing talent. So the work of the Academy continues for 2011 and beyond,” concluded Thorn.

The second round of Selection Trials for new young hopefuls will be held in September 2011 hosted at WPNSA and the opening date for registration is the 2nd May.

Edward Gorman, former sailing correspondent for The Times, now Deputy Foreign Editor, who sits on the Advisory Board concluded: “The French have dominated solo ocean racing for too long and for good reason… They have put in place the right infrastructure and training facilities to ensure their sailors excel. The Artemis Offshore Academy is the first time that the sport in Britain has taken serious steps to take them on and it’s very exciting that we’ve chosen Sam who we believe has the potential to one day become a great Vendée Globe competitor. It will be thrilling to watch his progress over the following months and years.”

The Academy is sponsored by Artemis, the investment management company, who has been backing British sailing since 2006. Official Partners Musto, Marlow and Pol Roger Champagne and Official Suppliers Spinlock and Nautix also support the Artemis Offshore Academy.

Artemis Offshore Academy Development Squad members:

Nick Cherry (26, Birmingham/Southampton)
Sam Goodchild (21, Southampton) – Figaro Scholarship Winner
Simon Hiscocks (37, Surrey/Portland)
Nick Houchin (26, Tadley, Hampshire)
Nigel King (41, Lymington)
Becky Scott (25, Scotland/Fleet)
Phil Sharp (29, Jersey)
Oliver Young (22, Saltash)

Associate Members:

Pip Hare (36, Felixstowe) – Mini Transat campaign/scholarship
Conrad Humphreys (37, Plymouth) – Figaro campaign

Artemis Offfshore Academy Advisory Board:

Rod Carr (ex-RYA CEO)
Mike Golding (one of Britain’s leading solo offshore sailors having competed in the legendary solo non-stop round the world Vendée Globe three times)
Edward Gorman (former sailing correspondent, The Times, now Deputy Foreign Editor)
Mark Turner (Executive Chairman OC ThirdPole)
Gilles Chiorri (Events Director, Sailing, OC ThirdPole and former Figaro and round the world competitor)
John Thorn (Performance Director, Artemis Offshore Academy)
Charles Darbyshire (Project Director, Artemis Ocean Racing)

Artemis Offshore Academy Figaro Campaign Calendar 2011:

Solo Concarneau 3rd – 8th May
Base Normandie 20th – 22nd May
UK Figaro National Championships 23th – 26th May
Transmanche 9th – 12th June
Record Saint Nazaire 17th 21st June
La Solitaire du Figaro 31st July – 28th August
Tour de Bretagne (double-handed) 10th – 17th September
Solo Quiberon 24th -30th September
RORC Morgan Cup (double-handed) 17th – 19th June
JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (fully crewed) 25th June
RORC Cowes to Dinard (double-handed) 8th – 10th July
RORC Channel Race (double-handed) 30th – 31st July
RORC Rolex Fastnet Race (double-handed) 14th – 19th August
Tour de Bretagne (double-handed) 10th – 17th September

Artemis Offshore Academy Partners

Musto is the leading performance clothing brand specialising in technical sailing as well as sailing inspired lifestyle clothing.

Pol Roger
Pol Roger is one of the few remaining great family-owned Champagne houses. Founded in 1849, the company celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1999.

Marlow specialise in the design and manufacture of technically innovative rope products using the very latest hi-tech and exotic man made fibers.

Artemis Offshore Academy Suppliers

Spinlock has over thirty years’ experience of designing and manufacturing rope holding equipment for sailing boats from dinghies up to the largest Superyachts.

Nautix is a leading supplier of marine paints for recreational sailors to ocean racers.

Artemis Offshore Academy