( Photo © Barry James Wilson )

 

Author: Toby Heppell/Peta Stuart-Hunt

Four seasons in one day, a game of two halves, a bit of everything; you can pick your cliche, but the 2017 Round the Island Race in association with Cloudy Bay has certainly delivered on all levels.

Ultimately, it will be the MOD70, Concise 10 taking the lion’s share of the headlines, and rightly so as Ned Collier Wakefield steered the 70ft trimaran to a thrilling race record, shaving exactly a minute off the time set by Phaedo3 in 2016.

If the spotlight falls on Concise then the remaining accolades will surely go to Adam Gosling’s JPK10.80, Yes! which stormed round in IRC1 to take the biggest prize of the day, the coveted Gold Roman Bowl, awarded to the overall winner of the race on corrected time in IRC.

As is ever the case, the headlines struggle to do justice to a race full of stories and excitement quite literally from dawn to dusk – no mean feat just nine days post the summer solstice.

The morning dawned with little promise as a NNW wind in the high teens and some rain showers greeted the earliest starters, who were due to set off west, down the Solent and towards the Needles at 05:30.

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Photos © Barry James Wilson

At least the wind and rain helped wake the competitors up a little and perhaps wash away some of the excesses from the night before.

The early weather also conspired to give the 1342 racers a fast start, close reaching down the Solent with the tide beneath them; there were personal best times recorded to the Needles across the board.

Concise 10, the fastest boat on the water this weekend, started at 05:40 and made the Needles by 6:10 and went on to make St Catherine’s Point at around 06:50. But it was not just the multihulls romping in the conditions, the monohulls were lifting their skirts and flying too.

The first monohull to round the Needles was the Volvo70 Sanya Lan at a little after 06:30. By the time 06:50 rolled around, some 200 boats had already passed the Needles, setting their spinnakers and heading off to St. Catherine’s Point.

By the time most fleets had reached the Needles the winds had moderated, the clouds parted and the sun was shining, if intermittently at first.

The first big news of the day was the finish of Concise 10 who’d had a thrilling lap as owner Tony Lawson confirmed: “It got pretty tense for me when we did 44 knots off St Catherine’s [Point],” he said. “That is as fast as you would ever want to go I can promise you that. That is faster than Sir Ben [Ainslie in the America’s Cup] by the way…”

That will be the second boat in so many months that Giles Scott, tactician on Land Rover BAR (and sailing today on Concise) will have achieved 40+knots.

Scott was not alone in terms of sailors from the upper echelons of the sport, with some of the finest sailors the world has to offer taking up the challenge of the 50nm classic. Alongside them were families sailing for fun, first timers and everyone in between.

For a long time it looked as though Irvine Laidlaw’s Reichel-Pugh 82, Highland Fling XI would take the coveted Gold Roman Bowl after they took line honours for the monohulls. But, ultimately no-one could match the might of Yes! who managed to take victory by just shy of seven minutes on corrected time. For a day where the margins had been tight all along it was an impressive performance and it would be hard to argue there was a better team out there today.

With a fast reach to the Needles and a moderating breeze, retirements were few and far between. Though there was the odd bump here or there on the way round, it was probably a race to be remembered for the lack of incident more than anything. Tribute should be paid to the Island Sailing Club Race management team, along with the huge volume of volunteers bring the Race to fruition today.

The finish remains open until 10pm this evening and there are still plenty of back markers to be counted over the line so final results will be a little time coming but the top three in each class can no longer be beaten by any of those remaining in the race.

It is hard to sum up a day such as the Round the Island Race but, handily the spirit of the event was captured before the start gun had even fired by Cloudy Bay Brand ambassador, Ben Fogle who was out racing on the Farr 52 Bob by Cloudy Bay today.

“I love the outdoors and have spent the best part of 20 years exploring the world and exploring what we can do in it,” he said. “There is something so beautiful about the sport of sailing and working with the weather. So much of modern life is about what man is doing to destroy it and yet here we are showing the complete opposite. When you combine that with the heritage and the great social aspect, well, that is just a wonderful thing.”

Don’t forget to nominate any worthy recipients of the MS Amlin Seamanship Award direct to the Island Sailing Club. This is not restricted to sailors, but can be open to anyone who has shown exceptional seamanship or onshore assistance during the Round the Island Race.

Lastly, we are delighted that Sir Keith Mills, owner of Invictus and founding Shareholder of the Land Rover BAR America’s Cup team, will be joining us at tomorrow’s prize giving ceremony at the Island Sailing Club at midday Sunday 2 July.

Provisional results are available on the results page

Top Trophy News

IRC:

1  – Gold Roman Bowl winner – YES!

2  – Silver Roman Bowl winner – Highland Fling

3  – Royal Thames Challenge Trophy winner – Salvo

 

ISC RS:

1  – Silver Gilt Roman Bowl winner – Antilope

2  – Fidelis Trophy winner – Cherete

3  – Geisco Trophy winner – Touché

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Photos © Barry James Wilson

Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt

How best to describe the annual Round the Island Race in association with Cloudy Bay in one word, one that neatly encapsulates the passion, competition, thrills and enjoyment shared by thousands of sailors each year? It’s always EXCITING!

The Race Management team led by Rear Commodore Sailing Dave Atkinson at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, is making last-minute preparations to welcome 1,342 yachts to eleven individual starts first thing on Saturday morning 1st July. The first start is scheduled for 0530 and the starting sequence will be completed by 0710 as the fleet heads west from Cowes to the Needles.

Among those signed up to race are last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner, Bernard Langley’s TP52 Gladiator with (fresh from his Land Rover BAR America’s Cup debut), David ‘Freddie’ Carr on board. The Race also welcomes back the Greig City Academy Sailing Team, the inspirational and ultra-competitive North London inner city state school entry Scaramouche.

Last year’s runner-up to the record-breaking MOD70 Phaedo^3 who took Line Honours, the distinctive blue hulls of Concise 10 is back aiming to achieve that accolade this year. The record set by Phaedo^3 was an astounding 2 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds, smashing the Multihull race record time set by Sir Ben Ainslie in 2013 by a stunning 28 minutes!

Somewhat more sedately but equally competitive, the Cloudy Bay Brand ambassador Ben Fogle is racing with the race sponsor’s guests on board the Farr 52 Bob by Cloudy Bay, skippered by Stephen Durkin.

Racing for the FAST40+ Class continues with Round Two of the FAST40+ Race Circuit, consisting of one day of Windward Leeward racing tomorrow (Friday) followed by 11 FAST40s racing around the Island on Saturday for the FAST40+ Cloudy Bay Trophy.

Having previously raced his own boats, a Hustler 35, an SB20 and a J109, this year Rob Bellfield is skippering a Starlight 35, Sea Nymph III, to give a multi-national crew the experience of the Round the Island Race. Rob is Chairman of the GBR 420 Class Association as well as being a serving Royal Navy Captain. The boat has been chartered by the Royal College of Defence Studies YC, an international defence staff college located in Belgrave Square in London. Course members are 75% from foreign nations and are in the UK for a year to learn about strategy formulation at the national level. The crew is multi-national, with British, Norwegian, French, Israeli, Dutch and Spanish members.

The organisers are hosting their popular pre-Race press conference tomorrow (Friday) at the Island Sailing Club, followed later by the all-important Raymarine Weather Briefing at 1800hrs with meteorologist Simon Rowell. There promises to be a marquee overflowing with interesting competitors and a great line-up of stage guests including three members of the British Youth Squad, the 420 sailors Vita Heathcote and twins Milly and Charlotte Boyle, racing a chartered J/70 called Rita on Saturday.

Joining Cloudy Bay as Presenting Sponsor, the Race Partners include Helly Hansen as Official Clothing Partner, MS Amlin as Marine Insurance Partner, Raymarine as Technical Partner and Chelsea Magazines, publishers of Yachts & Yachting, Sailing Today and Classic Boat, as the Race Media Partner who are back for a second year. The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust also returns this year as the Official Race Charity and has four boats competing.

This race truly is a #raceforall. Image: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

This race truly is a #raceforall. Image: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

This race truly is a #raceforall. Image: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Article by PETA Stuart-Hunt.
Photos by Barry James Wilson

The longest day of the summer came close to delivering the longest J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race ever as winds ranging from zero knots to painfully light tested the patience of crews with high performance catamaran Team Richard Mille emerging as line honours winner with a time of almost nine hours.

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Most of the 1,585 entries started the race around the Isle of Wight in around 3 knots and bright sunshine and as the hours went by, temperatures rose but wind speed dropped leaving hundreds of boats becalmed and a large proportion of the 16,000 crew desperately seeking ways of making their boats go faster or resorting to stretching out on deck to enjoy the sunny conditions.

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Ellen Macarthur at J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

First to the Needles was Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore’s Swan 45 Eala of Rhu but the going was slow and Sir Ben Ainslie, racing on the Farr 45 Rebel with members of his BAR America’s Cup crew, took longer to complete the first 13 miles than the record-breaking 2hrs 52mins 15secs he took to finish the entire race last year.

Photo by Barry James Wilson

Photo by Barry James Wilson

Rebel very quickly became involved in a match race with rival Farr 45 Toe in the Water crewed by injured servicemen and women who had served recently in Afghanistan and the lead swapped several times over the 50 nms course though it was Capt Lloyd Hamilton’s ecstatic crew who nudged across the finish line ahead of Ainslie and his team of professionals.

“This means everything to us,” he said recording a time of 8 hrs 51 mins 39 secs.

“Beating Ben Ainslie is better than beating the Taliban for these guys.

“He left us shortly after St Catherine’s Point and flew away but we kept on trying and it is apt when you look at who we have on board because it proves you should never give up.

“The guys are ecstatic at beating Rebel. They don’t know many of the America’s Cup sailors but they know and love Sir Ben Ainslie, so are thrilled.”

Photo by Barry James Wilson

Photo by Barry James Wilson

Another big battle to ensue on the water was between the brand new high-performance catamarans, the GC32s Team Richard Mille and Spax Solution making their racing debuts in the Solent. Former line honours winner Pete Cumming had gathered together a professional crew for Team Richard Mille, including helmsman Paul Campbell-James and proved consistently faster than their rivals.

They took five long hours to reach St Catherine’s Point where the sea breeze kicked in to give the leading boats a big push over the next two hours towards the finish but just as they were within sight of the line, the wind in Stokes Bay died and their final flourish was delayed by a further hour to record a finish time of 8 hours and 51 mins.

“We have had a great week and to round it off with a line honours win in the 2014 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is a fantastic achievement especially in these conditions,” said Cumming who put the project together.

“It wasn’t the easiest race but these boats are superb – very fast even in light airs and fun to sail. We want to thank our sponsors for giving us this opportunity and look forward to working together in the future.”

First monohull across the finish line was Dutch boat Tonnerre de Breskens, with a time of 9 hrs 56 mins 13 secs but they too had a battle royale to gain an advantage over Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe II, which trailed in just 22 seconds later after one of the biggest tests of endurance and patience since the Round the Island Race started in 1931.

A battle royale ensued for Tonnerre de Breskens to gain the advantage over Tokoloshe II to take the monohull win.

Twelve hours after the first start, 246 boats had finished and a further 445 had retired but the rest were still out on the course valiantly trying to make the finish before the cut off time of 10.00pm when the overall race winner and new holder of the Gold Roman Bowl was set to become clear.

 

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

IJ.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Spindrift racing MOD70 N°05 sailing at the Tour de Belle-Ile regatta. (Photo by Chris Schmid /Spindrift Racing)

Spindrift racing MOD70 N°05 sailing at the Tour de Belle-Ile regatta. (Photo by Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing)

The Artemis Challenge welcomes IMOCA 60s and MOD 70s to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week on August 16th

The world’s fastest offshore monohulls and multihulls set to race around the Isle of Wight for charity

For the sixth straight year the Artemis Challenge will be one of the highlights of the 2012 Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the world’s largest sailing regatta and one of the UK’s biggest sporting events. In a new twist to the classic route around the Isle of Wight, the 2012 Artemis Challenge will see teams of monohull IMOCA 60s and multihull MOD 70s race around the island to claim £10,000 for charity. A world class line up of British Vendée Globe skippers helming high performance IMOCA 60s will be paired up with the latest generation MOD 70s to compete together in the 50 mile sprint on August 16th.

The Artemis Challenge will welcome back the best British offshore racers before they take on the mighty challenge of the Vendée Globe in November when they will race singlehandedly around the world. The start line for IMOCA 60s will include Mike Golding (Gamesa) and Artemis Ocean Racing II. They will be joined by the fastest class of cutting edge designed 70 ft multihulls, with legendary French skipper Michel Desjoyeaux skippering Foncia, Sidney Gavignet on Oman Sail and Swiss racer Steve Ravussin on Race for Water.

Mark Tyndell, CEO of Artemis Investment Management, said, “The return of the Artemis Challenge continues the legacy of this wonderful event. We are pleased to welcome back some of the best British solo skippers in the world as they prepare for the Vendée Globe, as well as welcoming for the first time the impressive MOD 70s, skippered by some of the biggest names in offshore racing. Both sets of boats should deliver a fantastic spectacle and compete to raise money for great causes.”

The Artemis Challenge, sponsored by Artemis Investment Management, one of the UK’s leading investment companies, is recognised as one of the key events of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and is a magnificent spectacle, showcasing the best of offshore racing within easy reach of spectators. The race follows the classic America’s Cup route around the Isle of Wight, starting at 10 AM on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line.

The Artemis Challenge at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week has long attracted a strong list of celebrity guests. Teams competing in the race in the past have included sports stars Zara Phillips, Amy Williams, Will Greenwood, Mike Tindall and James Haskell, as well as other stars from the world of entertainment, such as Ewan McGregor, Davina McCall, Bryan Adams and James and Oliver Phelps, the Weasley Twins from the Harry Potter movies.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt

the  81st J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, started by Olympic 470 sailor Hannah Mills, with over 1,600 boats heading in a westerly direction round the Isle of Wight.
The wind conditions are as forecast with most of the fleets starting in a moderate south-westerly breeze.  However, the forecast is for the wind to increase, with the predicted conditions having already put paid to racing for some of the smaller classes including sportsboats, J80s, 707s, SB20s (formerly known as SB3s) and the small MOCRA multihull fleet (LOA less than 9.15m).
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 by Barry James Wilson
There was also a safety call made for all competitors to wear lifejackets.
The likes of Mike Slade’s 100ft Farr-designed superyacht – ICAP Leopard – revelled in the conditions and soon slotted in to her natural position at the head of the fleet. She led the fleet round the Needles but was soon challenged by last year’s line honours winner, Lionel Lemonchois and team on the Multi 50  Prince de Bretagne. However, first across the line at 10.19.57, just over one minute outside the overall record, finishing in 3hrs.09mins and 57secs, was former Mini Transat winner Yves Le Blevec on the Multi 50 trimaran – Actual.
Elsewhere the fleet are battling the strong winds round the south of the island and as the day progresses there are a number of retirements. However, it is great to see the likes of Dame Ellen MacArthur on the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s boat Dark Star, which is a 90ft sloop loaned to the Trust for the day. She is currently the leading yacht in the Trust’s four-boat fleet.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)
Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie at the helm of the 162ft schooner, Eleonora, is now round St Catherine’s Point and enjoying a final blast home to the finish.

The overall winners of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race have been confirmed, with the 81st edition of the event bringing triumph for boats both large and small.

The winner of the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl for first boat overall on IRC handicap is Tony Langley’s TP52 Manroland Sheetfed. Competing in IRC 0, Manroland Sheetfed (aka Weapon of Choice) was the second monohull to complete the course, finishing in 4hrs, 42mins and 12secs to win on corrected time by just 3 minutes.

Tony Langley’s crew held off a strong challenge by last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner Sundowner.  Jo Hutchinson’s Contessa 26 won IRC Division 3D by completing the course in 8hrs, 31mins and 17secs giving them a corrected time of just 3 minutes and 4 seconds slower than the TP52 and awarding them the Silver Roman Bowl for second overall in IRC.

Sundowner also faced a fierce challenge from another previous winner of the race, Ed Donald’sMadelaine, a Nordic Folkboat that won the Gold Roman Bowl in 2007. Racing in the same class, Madelaine finished just two and a half minutes behind Sundowner on the water, to take third overall on corrected time.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Line honours went to the Multi 50 trimaran Actual, which crossed the finish line at 10.19.57 this morning, finishing in a time of 3hrs, 09mins and 57secs to just miss out on the outright record set by Francis Joyon in 2001 by just 1min, 28secs.

Skipper Yves Le Blevec, a Jules Verne record and Mini Transat winner, said: “We had three objectives for this race. Firstly don’t break the boat, secondly don’t arrive behind Prince de Bretagne, and in third it was to arrive in 1st overall across the line. We had those three points but we didn’t think about the fourth point – which was the record, and we missed the record by very little!”

Blevec said they weren’t aware of how close to the record time they were as they neared the finish: “We didn’t check that before, and when we saw the time we realised it was very close. But it was a very nice race, and on the south of the island there was big waves and windy, very nice conditions.”They were followed home by last year’s line honours winner Prince de Bretagne, while first monohull home was the current course record holder ICAP Leopard, who rounded the Island in 03hrs, 59mins and 04secs.

Starry Night by Barry James Wilson

Starry Night by Barry James Wilson

 

Groupama 70  (Photo courtesy of Team Groupama)

Groupama 70 (Photo courtesy of Team Groupama)

It was at 1126 hours BST on Sunday that Franck Cammas and his ten crew took victory in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland off the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. By covering the 1,802 miles in 5 days 21 hours and 26 minutes at an average speed of 12.74 knots, the French crew considerably improved on the best time over this course which had previously been in the hands of the British sailors Dee Cafari and Sam Davies since 2009. “Our arrival in the Isle of Wight was pretty magical. We powered along the island at over twenty knots under spinnaker before tacking against the current in the Solent. On crossing the finish line off the Squadron, the exhaustion swept over us. That’s how you build a team; it’s important” says Jean-Luc Nélias, navigator aboard Groupama 70.

As the winner of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland tied up to the dock in the port of Cowes, the bottle of champagne was passed around the whole crew. Very much in demand, Franck Cammas had to do a steady stream of telephone interviews and after his first confrontation against a Volvo Ocean Race specialist, the skipper of Groupama 70 was ready and waiting: “Our aim in this race was to see how the work this new team, on a new boat, has been doing over the past six months would measure up to a reference like Telefonica. The battle was great and very close-fought. We really battled hard. The confrontation was worth its weight in gold with the crew forced to sail under pressure for the first time since Groupama’s engagement in the Volvo. This victory has motivated the whole team to push themselves as hard as they can. As far as the record is concerned, it’s the icing on the cake” explains a happy Franck Cammas.

By taking 14 hours and 3 minutes less time than the previous Sevenstar RBI reference, Groupama 70 has confirmed the fast pace of these Volvo Ocean Race monohulls, which are capable of peak speeds in excess of 30 knots, as well as regularly sailing faster than the strength of the wind, like the multihulls that the skipper of Groupama is so familiar with.

However, the greatest satisfaction for the recent winner of the Jules Verne Trophy is a human one: “We have a new team. None of my crew come from the multihull and the three Groupama trimarans. It was necessary for me to become integrated. For that there’s nothing more valuable than a race to get to know each other well and gain trust. I’ve learnt more in six days of racing than in six months of training in Lorient during our day sails. This victory binds our crew for the future”.

Next up the crew will quickly have to head back out to sea to return to the base in Lorient: “We’ll have left before Telefonica arrives. We’re not being prudish, but our work schedule is a busy one and every minute counts until the start of the Volvo in November 2011. It would be a mistake to underestimate our rivals” concludes Jean-Luc Nélias.

– Time of passage over the finish line: 1126 hours BST
– Race time: 5 days 21 hours and 26 minutes
– Average speed over the 1,802 mile course: 12.74 knots
– Lead over the previous record: 14 hours and 3 minutes

Crew of Groupama 70
1. Franck Cammas, skipper
2. Jean-Luc Nélias, navigator
3. Laurent Pagès, watch leader
4. Magnus Woxen, watch leader
5. Charles Caudrelier, trimmer
6. Erwan Israël, trimmer, under 30 years of age
7. Martin Strömberg, trimmer and pitman, under 30 years of age
8. Sébastien Marsset, trimmer and pitman, under 30 years of age
9. Mike Pammenter, bowman, under 30 years of age
10. Martin Krite, bowman, under 30 years of age
11. Yann Riou, media crew

GAES Centros Auditivos crossing the finish line in Calpe ( Photo © FNOB )

GAES Centros Auditivos crossing the finish line in Calpe ( Photo © FNOB )

Tomorrow six round-the-world IMOCA 60 racers will be on the start line for the fourth consecutive Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week including Britain’s Mike Golding and Dee Caffari.  Joining the renowned round the world skippers, competing for the £10,000 charity prize fund, will be sporting stars Zara Phillips, Amy Williams, GMTV presenter Emma Crosby and former England rugby international Martin Bayfield. Bayfield played the role of Robbie Coltrane’s body double ‘Hagrid’ in the Harry Potter films and whose co-stars James and Oliver Phelps, known as the Weasley twin characters in the same films, are back for a second time. Amy Williams, Olympic Gold Medalist in the skeleton bob at the last Winter Olympics commented: “I’ve always wanted to give sailing a try. I’m sure life out at sea is pretty different to life on the skeleton bob track!”
British yachtswoman Dee Caffari,  will take part in the fourth edition of the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week tomorrow.  Dee will be joined onboard by former rugby player turned presenter Martin Bayfield who, since retiring from the game, has played the role of Robbie Coltrane’s body double ‘Hagrid’ in the Harry Potter films in addition to carving out a presenting career.

Dee will be competing aboard her Open 60, GAES Centros Auditivos, in the annual IMOCA 60 sprint round the Isle of Wight that attracts some of the biggest names in ocean racing. Teams will be competing for a generous £10,000 prize fund and Dee will be hoping that a win may boost the coffers of her charity of choice, Toe in the Water. Lloyd Hamilton, Director of the charity will also be a guest of the Dee Caffari Racing team, adding some additional muscle to the existing race crew of Joff Brown, Harry Spedding, Tim Carrie and Scott Gray.

  Held annually, the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week enables teams to race for the charity of their choice and, as an ambassador for Toe in the Water, this year Dee was keen to show her support. Speaking about her work with the charity, Dee Caffari said:

  ‘I joined the Toe In The Water team in Dartmouth last year and sampled the powerful effect competitive sailing has on the injured servicemen recommended to the programme as part of their rehabilitation. Listening to what the charity does is impressive but when you have been able to see firsthand the impact competitive sailing can have on each individual in the programme it is truly amazing.’

  The tri service initiative, Toe In The Water, aims to inspire men and women who have sustained often traumatic injuries, including the loss of limbs, to move beyond their disability and to become re inspired by life. Competitive sailing is a physically and mentally challenging adventurous sport and provides a unique opportunity for injured men and women to sail and race on equal terms with their able bodied contemporaries. The charity receives no statutory funding and relies entirely on voluntary contributions from individuals, trusts and companies.

 Dee Caffari added:

  ‘Everyone has a role to play within the race crew, everyone is important for the overall performance and this feeling of being a valued team member has often been lost as a result of the injury sustained. It is incredible to see the self-confidence and self esteem return as these guys are re-engaged and re-integrated as part of a high performance team once more. I am delighted to be racing on behalf of Toe In The Water at the Artemis Challenge this year and have Lloyd Hamilton onboard, one of the Directors of the Charity.’

  Later this year, Dee will be taking part in the Barcelona World Race onboard GAES Centros Auditivos with her Spanish co-skipper, Anna Corbella. They will be the only all-female crew taking part in the race that leaves Barcelona on 31st December 2010.

The entries for the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week 2010 are:

1. Artemis Ocean Racing: Simon Hiscocks

2. Akena Verandas: Arnaud Boissieres
3. Toe in the Water: Steve White
4. GAES Centros Auditivos: Dee Caffari

5. Veolia Environnement: Roland Jourdain
6. VE1: Ryan Breymaier