Benoit Stichelbaut / Sea & Co / MOD

MOD 70s and IMOCA 60s to team race around the Isle of Wight

The Artemis Challenge takes place tomorrow

Wednesday August 15th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Two MOD 70s and two IMOCA 60s will be racing 50 miles around the Isle of Wight in the Artemis Challenge tomorrow at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

A host of special Olympic guests from Team GB including Silver medallists Nick Dempsey and Zara Phillips will also be joined by the Women’s Match Racing team of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor, as well as television presenter Dan Snow, famous British skippers, Dee Caffari, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Brian Thompson and Ian Walker.

“The MOD 70 and IMOCA 60 crews are excited about the great weather conditions forecasted for tomorrow with 20-25 knots from the south, at times up to 30 knots, which will enable them to reach top speeds and possibly set a new record for racing around the island,” said Artemis Challenge Race Director Gilles Chiorri.“The teams will have a fast start to the race beating down the western Solent to the Needles, before heading around the south side of the island into a wet and wild battle with the MOD 70s reaching speeds of 25-30 knots.”

The MOD 70 Musandam Oman Sail skippered by Sidney Gavignet, who also has record setting sailors Brian Thompson and Dee Caffari on his crew, will race against Foncia skippered by double Vendee Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux who also Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Ian Walker in his crew (along with thedailysail's editor, James Boyd), while in the IMOCA 60s, Mike Golding's Gamesa will have Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor as crew members, as Nick Dempsey and Lucy Macgregor share helming duties on Artemis Ocean Racing II.

Zara Phillips will start the race at 10:00am tomorrow from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes. Each MOD 70 and IMOCA 60 will be paired up to race as a team around the Isle of Wight. The pairings will be drawn at random during the skippers briefing in the morning, and the £12,000 prize fund charity will be split across the winning team based on cumulative elapsed time and the fastest time for the MOD70 and IMOCA 60 division .

The previous multihull record for sailing around the island is 2 hours, 33 minutes and 55 seconds held by the late Steve Fossett's maxi-catamaran Playstation with the fastest monohull time being 3 hours and 53 minutes and 5 seconds set by Mike Slade's 100ft supermaxi ICAP Leopard.

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.

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