Tomorrow six round-the-world IMOCA 60 racers will be on the start line for the fourth consecutive Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week including Britain’s Mike Golding and Dee Caffari. Joining the renowned round the world skippers, competing for the £10,000 charity prize fund, will be sporting stars Zara Phillips, Amy Williams, GMTV presenter Emma Crosby and former England rugby international Martin Bayfield. Bayfield played the role of Robbie Coltrane’s body double ‘Hagrid’ in the Harry Potter films and whose co-stars James and Oliver Phelps, known as the Weasley twin characters in the same films, are back for a second time. Amy Williams, Olympic Gold Medalist in the skeleton bob at the last Winter Olympics commented: “I’ve always wanted to give sailing a try. I’m sure life out at sea is pretty different to life on the skeleton bob track!”
British yachtswoman Dee Caffari, will take part in the fourth edition of the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week tomorrow. Dee will be joined onboard by former rugby player turned presenter Martin Bayfield who, since retiring from the game, has played the role of Robbie Coltrane’s body double ‘Hagrid’ in the Harry Potter films in addition to carving out a presenting career.
Dee will be competing aboard her Open 60, GAES Centros Auditivos, in the annual IMOCA 60 sprint round the Isle of Wight that attracts some of the biggest names in ocean racing. Teams will be competing for a generous £10,000 prize fund and Dee will be hoping that a win may boost the coffers of her charity of choice, Toe in the Water. Lloyd Hamilton, Director of the charity will also be a guest of the Dee Caffari Racing team, adding some additional muscle to the existing race crew of Joff Brown, Harry Spedding, Tim Carrie and Scott Gray.
Held annually, the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week enables teams to race for the charity of their choice and, as an ambassador for Toe in the Water, this year Dee was keen to show her support. Speaking about her work with the charity, Dee Caffari said:
‘I joined the Toe In The Water team in Dartmouth last year and sampled the powerful effect competitive sailing has on the injured servicemen recommended to the programme as part of their rehabilitation. Listening to what the charity does is impressive but when you have been able to see firsthand the impact competitive sailing can have on each individual in the programme it is truly amazing.’
The tri service initiative, Toe In The Water, aims to inspire men and women who have sustained often traumatic injuries, including the loss of limbs, to move beyond their disability and to become re inspired by life. Competitive sailing is a physically and mentally challenging adventurous sport and provides a unique opportunity for injured men and women to sail and race on equal terms with their able bodied contemporaries. The charity receives no statutory funding and relies entirely on voluntary contributions from individuals, trusts and companies.
Dee Caffari added:
‘Everyone has a role to play within the race crew, everyone is important for the overall performance and this feeling of being a valued team member has often been lost as a result of the injury sustained. It is incredible to see the self-confidence and self esteem return as these guys are re-engaged and re-integrated as part of a high performance team once more. I am delighted to be racing on behalf of Toe In The Water at the Artemis Challenge this year and have Lloyd Hamilton onboard, one of the Directors of the Charity.’
Later this year, Dee will be taking part in the Barcelona World Race onboard GAES Centros Auditivos with her Spanish co-skipper, Anna Corbella. They will be the only all-female crew taking part in the race that leaves Barcelona on 31st December 2010.
The entries for the Artemis Challenge at Cowes Week 2010 are:
1. Artemis Ocean Racing: Simon Hiscocks
2. Akena Verandas: Arnaud Boissieres
3. Toe in the Water: Steve White
4. GAES Centros Auditivos: Dee Caffari
5. Veolia Environnement: Roland Jourdain
6. VE1: Ryan Breymaier
2009 Imoca World Championship
1. Marc Guillemot 362pts
2. Michel Desjoyeaux 357pts
3. Armel Le Cleach 338pts
4. Samantha Davies 321pts
5. Vincent Riou 304pts
6. Dee Caffari 295pts
7. Arnaud Boissières 292pts
8. Brian Thompson 281pts
9. Steve White 250pts
10. Richard Wilson 220pts
11. Raphaël Dinelli 210pts
12. Norbert Sedlacek 200pts
13. Kito De Pavant 59pts
14. Loïck Peyron 52pts
15. Yann Eliès 44pts
16. Roland Jourdain 39pts
17. Mike Golding 36pts
18. Jérémie Beyou 33pts
19. Yannick Bestaven 32pts
20. Alex Pella 30pts
21. Pachi Rivero 18pts
22. Guillermo Altadill 16pts
23. Jean-Pierre Dick 8pts
24. Marc Thiercelin 4pts
25. Unai Basurko 0pts
26. Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty 0pts
27. Derek Hatfield 0pts
28. Sébastien Josse 0pts
29. Jean Le Cam 0pts
30. Jonathan Malbon 0pts
31. Bernard Stamm 0pts
32. Alex Thomson 0pts
33. Dominique Wavre 0pts
Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) had a close encounter with a cargo ship last night which he admits was a little too close for comfort as he sailed in busy shipping traffic off Cape Finisterre.
The British skipper emerged unscathed and is making fair speed across the Bay of Biscay now, trying to hike north in the contrary, Easterly winds as he makes for the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne where he is now expected Thursday.
White is expected to stay on the same tack now up to about the latitude of Lorient, where the breeze is likely to bend to a more favourable northerly direction, but the weather files also suggest it will be lighter, so nothing about his final approach seems to be falling in his favour. Once again he voiced his frustration today, saying that every time he tacked the wind had changed to be more against him.
“It’s like pulling teeth. I just want to get in.” White said today.
His VMG remains consistent at around 6-8 knots, although he said today that with 30 knot winds off Finisterre the seas were as big and awkward as he could remember, only the second time he could recall not being able to stand up on the foredeck of his Open 60, and having to work on his hands and knees.
At 1430hrs this afternoon White had a direct distance of 267 miles to Les Sables, which in reality is closer to 330 miles with winds still mainly Easterly to 25 knots.
Rich Wilson’s weather conundrum is just the type of cerebral challenge the American skipper would enjoy sitting at home toying with, in theory, trying to find the optimum routing around the high pressure system to his east, but with a high pressure ridge also to squeezing him to the west. Two hundred miles to his west there is the option of express downwind travel to the north, but from there he then has a long, long way back to the east to get to the French coast. Unfortunately this puzzle comes towards the end of Wilson’s highly commendableVendée Globe and in reality is just the kind of challenge he could be doing without when all he wants to do is be able to point the bows of the Great American III at Les Sables d’Olonne and get finished.
He is into lighter breezes in the high pressure ridge at the moment and so should be getting more chance to rest and recover a little, but still with a difficult regime of sail changes.
Conditions remain rough for Raphaël Dinelli. The skipper of Fondation Ocean Vital is having to battle upwind in 25-30 knot trade winds and heavy seas. He will be heeled over and shaken about for the next four or five days. Conditions are very different for Norbert Sedlacek, AUT, (Nauticsport Kapsch) at the rear of the fleet. Unfortunately for the Austrian skipper, the Doldrums are stretching out as he climbs towards the Equator. Sedlacek said today that he was not enjoying the stress of the Doldrums but was looking forward to getting across the Equator tomorrow (Wednesday). And having access to a fuller sail selection now that he has replaced his headsail halyards has been a godsend, even though he has been slowed to three to five knots for much of the day.
Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water): “ I had a bit of a long night with a lot of ships around Finisterre, I had to call several of them to get them to alter course for me. So I am quite tired and nearly got run down as well. I came as close as I ever have in my entire life to getting run down. It was the closest I have ever been to a ship which was not at anchor I think. An under arm throw with a tennis ball and I could have put it on its deck.
I called him up and he obviously had not seen me and it took him five minutes to respond, and then when he did respond I said ‘what are you going to do?’ and he cam back and said he was going to turn to starboard and come down your starboard side. I thought that was rather odd, cos if he had turned to port he would have gone under our stern which would have been a much better thing to have done, he did an alteration to starboard which was big but it was not big enough, and I got headed and it finished up with us bow to bow and an angle of about 90 degrees and I baled out. I dumped the traveller all the way down because there was about 30 knots of breeze because the boat would not bear away, and as I crouched down to see I could see he had turned as well I had no idea that a ship that size, 160 metres, could turn so quickly and the bow was blown around and I saw his nav lights change underneath the boom, then I pushed the buttons on the pilot to come back up again, we both turned into each other effectively. Anyway I missed him he came under my stern and I called him up and said: ‘that was rather close wasn’t’ it?’ and he went absolutely berserk, and I thought which bit of the rules of the road have I not understood whereby you are supposed to get out of the way and I call you and ask what you are going to do, you tell me and you still end up hitting me. But I am going to report him You can’t let people get way with that.