Seb Josse and his all-star team, including celebrity guests Dame Ellen MacArthur and Radio 1 DJ, Rob Da Bank have won the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week. On an east-bound course, the fleet set off at 10:00 from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on a downwind leg flying their huge code zero gennakers. Mike Sanderson and team, including celebrity guest Paul Rose (TV presenter and adventurer), led off the startline but complicated winds soon started to affect proceedings and within 10 minutes, fleet positions had turned inside out.
Team Pindar today finished second in the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week, skippered by Former ISAF World Sailor of the Year and TEAMORIGIN Team Director, Mike Sanderson.
Light winds this morning forced organisers to modify the normal ‘round-the-island’ course, to a shortened 35-mile route through the Forts and around Nab Tower off the Isle of Wight. 8 miles from the official line, as the wind dropped further, the race was called to an early finish, sealing victory for Frenchman Seb Josse and his crew on board BT IMOCA 60.
Now in its third year, this year’s Artemis Challenge attracted a total of eight Open 60’s many of which had not competed since the end of the non-stop solo round the world yacht race, the Vendée Globe earlier this year. Each yacht played host to a celebrity sailor which included names from the world of entertainment and sport: Zara Phillips, Bryan Adams and Rugby World Cup winners Will Greenwood and Mike Tindall. Sailing on board Team Pindar was BBC TV presenter, adventurer and Earthwatch ambassador, Paul Rose.
Mike Sanderson commented: “Obviously it was disappointing not to have more breeze, but we had a good time and definitely made the most of the day. Considering how well the boat has been performing in the strong winds over the last few days, I was really encouraged to see how well she handled the light breeze too.”
Earthwatch Ambassador, Paul Rose commented: “I’ve been sailing all my life but it’s not everyday you get to be out on the water on an Open 60 and with some of the best sailors in the world. It’s been a tremendous event and a great opportunity to raise awareness for Earthwatch and its Oceans Appeal.”
Team Pindar is now preparing for the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron
A further five hours later the fleet made its way back up the Solent from No Man’s Land Fort after the course was shortened for the first time but the wind totally disappeared between Portsmouth and Ryde creating a concertina effect on the fleet.
Making zero headway against a now adverse tide, the race officers made a decision to put the self-shortening course procedure into action. It was agreed this morning that all competitors were to time themselves round each mark of the course, and take the times of the boat ahead and behind should this particular scenario happen.
The race office confirmed that the results would be based on the timings at Bembridge Ledge which meant that BT who was leading at the time was deemed the overall winner, and Pindar was second. Simon Clay on Artemis The Profit Hunter with celebrity guest Bryan Adams, were third. Stable mates – Artemis Ocean Racing – with Sam Davies and special guest Zara Phillips finished 4th.