The conditions reigning off the Isle of Wight this Thursday didn’t enable Sébastien Josse and his men to make a bid for the event record held by Michel Desjoyeaux. Last year, the skipper of the MOD70 Foncia benefited from an optimum weather scenario to cover the 50-mile course in 2 hours 21 minutes 25 seconds. This year, the crew of Gitana 11 had to contend with lighter winds, though the thermal breeze finally deigned to put in an appearance: “At this morning’s start – 0915 GMT – the breeze was virtually inexistent at just 2 to 3 knots. The start was complicated to deal with as around 3 knots of current were pushing us over the line. The crew came off well from this situation, but we could tell from watching Oman Air that it was tricky, as they crossed the starting line as the starting gun fired and in so doing copped a penalty. In fact, given the current, it was decided that we’d circumnavigate the Isle of Wight in a clockwise fashion. The first few miles of the race, as far as Ryde, were very slow and tactical in terms of positioning. At around 1030 hours, the thermal breeze gradually kicked back in and we were the first to hit the fresh breeze. The race was decided in the transition between these two phenomena. Following on from that, conditions were perfect for extending away from the others as the wind shifted further to the right the more headway we made along the course. We had up to 17 knots, which gave rise to some great acceleration on the flat seas in glorious sunshine! The home straight, between the Needles and the finish line, moored off the Royal Yacht Squadron, was grandiose: slaloming between all the different fleets of yachts racing in Cowes Week and making over 20 knots of boat speed. With their landscapes, seascapes and their culture of yachting, the Solent and the Isle of Wight are magical places to sail,” Sébastien Josse admitted on taking a win in this race for the second time. Indeed he previously secured victory here in 2009 at the helm of the 60-foot monohull BT.
“The Artemis Challenge was the final crewed race of our 2013 racing season as from now on we’ll be devoting our time to double-handed sailing on the MOD Edmond de Rothschild. It was a pleasure to round off the year in this way with a crew, which has put up a very impressive performance, notably taking the win in the Route des Princes back in June. It’s always a delight to sail aboard Gitana 11 too, which seemed to us to be the most suitable boat to compete in this event,” explained the sailor who originates in Nice.
Tomorrow, Friday, Gitana 11 will head back offshore bound for her home port of Lorient. In Sébastien Josse’s absence, Antoine Koch will take the helm of the maxi. Indeed the skipper of Gitana Team has another event ahead of him. Together with Charles Caudrelier, he’ll be setting off this Sunday on the legendary Rolex Fastnet Race aboard the MOD70 fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. The Edmond de Rothschild pairing will make the most of this race spanning some 600 miles or so between Cowes and Plymouth, via Fastnet Rock, to further their preparation in double-handed sailing and hope to complete the compulsory qualifier for the Transat Jacques Vabre along the way.
The Artemis Challenge: more than a race!
The Artemis Challenge has the specific feature that every team competes in the short race for a charity of their choice. As such the Gitana Team chose to sport the colours of Joves Navegants, an association supported by the Edmond de Rothschild foundations.
The Joves Navegants Foundation
The family of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has always had a passion for nautical activities, a commitment embodied today by the Gitana Team. As such the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations have quite naturally been sensitive to the mission of Joves Navegants and touched by the profound collective commitment to helping these young people in precarious situations.
Inspired by the methods of British Sailing associations, which help young people in difficulty, some enthusiastic sailors who have settled in Palma, Mallorca, decided to create Joves Navegants. Aware of the complicated situation for certain youngsters on the island in serious economic and family difficulties, they have chosen to share their passion. The foundation organises several types of trips out to sea on the yacht, Galaxie. These days out involve journeys of discovery, awareness campaigns for sustainable development, participation in races and training aids to enable certain youngsters to envisage sailing as a professional career.
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild in the Artemis Challenge
Sébastien Josse (skipper) / Charles Caudrelier / Olivier Douillard / Florent Chastel / Antoine Koch / Cyril Dardashti / David Boileau / Sébastien Col