Solo sailing season 2016 – On Monday October 5th, three intrepid rookies will embark on a month-long training programme as part of the new Artemis Offshore Academy Figaro season.
‘Rookie Month’ affords the new sailors the opportunity to not only impress the Academy with their sailing abilities, but also to develop the key skills needed to run successful Figaro campaigns.
Replacing the Academy’s selection trials of previous years, this new programme focuses on the positives of personal development, enabling young sailors to lay the groundwork of their campaigns before heading off to France for their intense sailing season in the Atlantic.
Sailing Team Manager Charles Darbyshire explained the change in format: “Having already proactively recruited some sailors, we wanted an opportunity to get to know them better. As a result, we decided to move away from our previous 72-hour selection trials and introduce ‘Rookie Month.’”
Completing sea survival, first aid, diesel engine, VHF radio and other training, the sailors (including those returning for the 2016 season) will have the opportunity to learn new skills or top up their expiring certificates. Each sailor will end up with a strong sponsorship offering, a photographic portfolio, and be ready to exploit social media channels as a result of this programme.
The sailors are keen to get started. Mary Rook, who sailed with Artemis 23 skipper Andrew Baker in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, is looking forward to learning new skills. “The programme involves quite a few talks about video work and blogging,“ she explained. “That’s something that I’d like to improve – I try to do a lot of updates online but I want to take it up a notch.”
Her counterpart, Hugh Brayshaw, is also keen to use the month to enhance his skills base. Having competed in the 2012 trials, Hugh is no stranger to hard work. “Rookie Month is over a far longer time frame than the trials, so we should be able to see more of what each of us brings to the table. It’s all about identifying your weaknesses and improving on them. I want to be much stronger – mentally and physically – after this month of training,” he said.
Will Harris is the final rookie taking part in the programme. Will trained with the Academy on a part time basis whilst studying at Southampton University but is now ready to take his sailing a step further. “I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it and making sailing my full time career,” he enthused. “Rookie Month marks the official start of my campaign so this is a big step.”
Will hopes to race in next year’s Solitaire du Figaro. 2015 was the most successful year to date for the Academy, celebrating a rookie division win and two boats in the top-10 of the Solitaire, including Alan Roberts’ historic ninth place finish. There are high hopes for this year’s rookies, aiming for further successes in 2016.
The Generali Solo Méditerranée – a marathon comprised of inshore and offshore races between Sete, Nice and Barcelona – concludes the 2015 solo sailing season. Academy Alumni Nick Cherry, Sam Matson and Alan Roberts have been competing in the race. Alan is currently 13th on the leaderboard, Sam sits just outside the top-ten in 11th, and Nick is fifth, fighting for a top-three position in the final inshore races in Barcelona. Should Nick achieve his goal, he will go down in history as the first British skipper to earn a place on the Generali Solo podium. The racing is due to finish on Saturday October 3rd.
by Artemis Offshore Academy