Thirty-two candidates have now been selected for the first round of the Artemis Offshore Academy Selection Trials starting Monday, 13th September. The new candidates will undergo their assessment under the watchful eye of new Performance Director, John Thorn, at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – the sailing venue for the 2012 Olympics.
The Artemis Offshore Academy, part of the ongoing Artemis Ocean Racing campaign backed by Artemis Investment Management, aims to elevate the best of British short-handed sailing talent, giving them the means to fulfill their dreams by creating the conditions for the emergence of a stronger British force on the international short-handed ocean racing scene. The number one objective of the Academy is to help British sailors who have the ability to go on and develop race winning solo campaigns capable of winning major titles including the non-stop round the world Vendée Globe in 2016 and beyond. Up till now, only Ellen MacArthur, Mike Golding and Samantha Davies have stood on the Vendée Globe podium but no British sailor has ever claimed overall victory in this legendary race.
The Selection Trials opened for entry at the end of July and the applications were whittled down to the final 32 who will participate in the Trials finishing on the 24th September. The Selection Trial candidates come from an interesting mix of budding short-handed offshore sailing talent (Will Sayer, Lia Ditton, Pip Hare and James Bird), match racers and dinghy sailors (Nick Cherry, Sam Pascoe and Dan Ward), professional round the world racers (Conrad Humphreys and Nigel King) and an Olympic medalist (Simon Hiscocks) – see full list below. The youngest candidate is 19 years of age and the eldest 41; five of the candidates are female; the candidates are predominantly from the south and west of England but also from Newcastle, London, Lowestoft and Felixstowe.
John Thorn, who has taken on the new challenging post of Performance Director at the Artemis Offshore Academy, after a successful and long-standing career in coaching and watersports centre management, most recently as National Sailing Coach at the Royal Yachting Association, commented: “Out of the 32 candidates, 8-12 will be selected for the Development Squad. This squad will go on to receive customised training to support their sailing ambitions. It will be a performance led squad where places are only maintained if personal performance goals are met.”
During the four trial sessions, each three days long, the candidates will undergo a series of assessment procedures and tests. “The aim of the Selection Trials is to provide a series of powerful and sustained challenges in areas of individual endeavour, teamwork, problem solving, communications and leadership, as well as physiological and psychometric testing,” said Thorn. “Whilst needing to keep the full details of the Trials under wraps, the candidates will certainly endure some tough tests at sea on board the four Artemis Figaro boats and on land whilst suffering from mild sleep deprivation, a permanent condition for most solo sailors!”
A member of the Development Squad will qualify for a ‘scholarship’ season in 2011 in the Figaro Class competing in the tough Solitaire du Figaro (existing Artemis Ocean Racing sailor, Jonny Malbon, is currently competing in the 2010 Figaro season). In addition, a British sailor (not necessarily from the Development Squad) will be given the use of a Pogo2 Classe Mini to compete in the 2011 Series Class Mini.
The Development Squad will go on to participate in training programmes at a number of different locations including the Centre d’Entraînement Méditerranée, La Grande Motte, France, The Solent utilising the Cowes base of the Artemis Ocean Racing project and the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy
The Artemis Offshore Academy is supported by an Advisory Board currently consisting of Rod Carr (ex-RYA Chairman); Edward Gorman (former sailing correspondent, The Times, now Deputy Foreign Editor); Gilles Chiorri (OC Events, Director, and former Figaro competitor); Mark Turner (OC Group, Chairman) and professional skipper, Mike Golding, who manages both an offshore ocean racing career as well as competing in the close combat of the inshore Extreme Sailing Series™.
Successful candidates chosen for the Development Squad after the Selection Trials process will be notified by the end of September.
Artemis Offshore Academy
Selection Trials candidates (September 2010):
Name / Age / Gender / Location / Notable Achievement
• Henry Bomby / 19 / Male / Kingswear / J80 J Cup 2010 1st place Team Baltic / Sailed Round Britain Solo
• Tom Gall / 24 / Male / Southamtpon / Class 40 Worlds 2009 1st place
• Conrad Humphreys / 37 / Male / Plymouth / Vendée Globe 2004-05 5th place / Transat Jacques Vabre 2003 1st place Open 50 class
• Nigel King / 41 / Male / Lymington / Solitaire du Figaro 2009 6th place Leg 4 / Volvo Ocean Race 2001 5th place News Corp
• Will Sayer / 31 / Southampton / OSTAR 2009 1st place
• Phil Sharp / 29 / Guernsey / Route du Rhum 2006 1st place Class 40
• Philip Spence / 23 / Male / Newcastle / RORC North Sea Race 2010 4th in class
• Dan Ward / 27 / Male / Grayshott / UK Laser National Championships 2006 2nd place
• Jackson Bouttell / 19 / Male / Southampton / RORC Caribbean 600 2009 1st place Class 40
• Francis Colledge / 24 / Male / Lowestoft / Warsash Spring Series 1st overall J105 Java
• Nikki Curwen / 21 / Female / Bournemouth / RORC Offshore Cervantes Race 3rd place overall
• Dan Dytch / 27 / Male / Southampton / Mini Les Sables-Azores – Les Sables 2010 (in progress!)
• Sam Matson / 19 / Male / Ottery St Mary / UK Cadet National Championships 2005 3rd place overall
• Oscar Mead / 20 / Male / Isle of Wight / OSTAR 2009 2nd in class
• Becky Scott, 24 / Female / Fleet / Ladies Match Racing Championship 2008 6th place
• Piers Tyler / 22 / Male / Hertford / Sydney to Hobart 2008 IRC Division
• Alex Adams / 26 / Male / Weymouth / J24 European Championships 2010 1st place
• James Bird / 27 / Male / Hamble / Figaro Season 2007 24th place
• Lia Ditton / 30 / Female / London / Route du Rhum 2006 2nd in class
• Simon Hiscocks / 37 / Male / Portland / Sydney 2000 Olympics Silver Medalist & Athens 2004 Olympics Bronze Medalist, 49er class; 49er World Champion 2003/2006
• Nick Houchin / 26 / Male / Tadley / Around the World Non-Stop Crewed 2009 76 days on Oman Sail’s 75ft trimaran Musandam
• Hannah Jenner / 30 / Female / Southampton / Clipper Round the World Race 2009-10 skipper Cork Clipper 1st place final leg
• Benjamin Rogerson / 26 / Male / first ever person to sail non-stop unassisted round UK and Ireland in a Classe Mini (21ft)
• Oliver Young / 22 / Male / Saltash / Match Racing National Championships 2009 4th place
• Oliver Bond / 30 / Male / Southampton / Mini Transat 2009 10th place
• Nick Cherry / 25 / Male / Southampton / UK Match Race Nationals 2007 1st place
• Sam Goodchild / 20 / Male / Southampton / RYA Youth National Match Racing Championship 2008 1st place
• Pip Hare / 36 / Female / Felixstowe / Double-Handed Round Britain & Ireland Race 2010 winner IRC
• Adam Humphrey / 24 / Male / Hove / Windsurfing Pro Freestyle Nationals 2007 5th place
• Philip Johnston / 31 / Male / Cardiff / RORC Double-Handed 2009 season 5th overall
• Ian Munslow / 36 / Male / Torpoint / Route du Rhum 2006 3rd place Class 40
• Sam Pascoe / 25 / Male / Portland / International Moth Worlds 2007 4th place
• Fergus Roper / 29 / Male / Southampton / RORC Offshore Series 2009 3rd overall