Artemis Offshore Academy - the quest for 2016 recruits

Are you man (or woman) enough?

Thursday June 4th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Artemis Offshore Academy Alumni Jack Bouttell led the Solitaire du Figaro fleet out of the Gironde river on Sunday with fellow Academy Alumni Sam Matson on Chatham not far behind, racing in third position for much of the river section of the opening first leg. While they are teammates within the Academy graduate programme, Bouttell and Matson’s approach to training and this season have been different.

With Bouttell now on his third Figaro season, and with the confidence boost of a Volvo Ocean Race leg win under his belt aboard Dongfeng Race Team, in early 2015 he applied to and was accepted to join the Pôle Finsterre Course au Large – the elite French solo training school in Port La Foret.

Pôle Finisterre Course au Large is famed for haivng nurtured most of France's top singlehanded offshore racers including Vendee Globe winners Michel Desjoyeaux, Vincent Riou and Francois Gabart and many top Figaro skippers. The training programme is not overly structured, relying on the experience of the group to move forward together. After all, most of the skippers in training there are already on their 10th or more season on the Figaro circuit. Organised weather clinics with guru Jean-Yves Bernot, as well as the more common first aid and sea survival are all covered by at the centre, which is run by Christian Le Pape. Le Pape famously created the training centre along with the famous names of French solo offshore racing such as Michel Desjoyeaux, Roland Jourdain and Jean Le Cam. Henry Bomby also trained for this season at the Pole Finisterre – his second year at the training base.

For Sam Matson’s second season on the Classe Figaro Bénéteau circuit, he chose not to change too much. Preferring to stick with what he knows, returning to train along side the Academy rookies and the Lorient 'Grand Large' fleet, working under the guidance of coach Tanguy Leglatin. Other competitors training in Lorient include the likes of Adrien Hardy, currently racing his 8th Solitaire, and Isabelle Joschke racing her 7th. Matson’s first year as an Academy graduate has been one of the hardest - having to find and manage a budget. After one sponsor's promise of support had fallen through, Matson had barely enough time to put an alternate in place in order to confirm his participation in this year’s race. Fortunately basically locally to his home in Exmouth, shoe company Chatham came onboard to provide backing, alongside an already agreed package from the Academy.

2016 is only a few months away

The Artemis Offshore Academy is the UK’s only training centre for budding British solo racers. Offering a funded programme with training in everything from navigation to media, French language, solo manoeuvres to sponsorship and campaign management, it is the Academy’s aim to fully equip first time competitors with everything needed to be successful in the highly coveted Classe Figaro Bénéteau Rookie division.

Applications are now open to try out for a place with in the Academy for 2016. Breaking away from the ’traditional’ Selection Trials that the Academy has run in previous years, sailors are invited to apply to join a series of summer sailing events [crewed and double handed], before a final squad selection will be made in the autumn. Applicants will have to attend a minimum number of events over the summer period and would be expected to show off not only the sailing skills, but also campaign and project management, boat work and demonstrate their ability to work as part of a bigger team.

Click here to apply.

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