14 Aug Artemis Challenge (More…)
Driving rain, poor visibility, thunder and lightning and a cold 15 knot NE. wind made for a dramatic start to the Artemis Challenge Race – the must do Cowes Week , “Grand Prix” event.
The race attracts top end international racers going on to compete in the iconic Rolex Fastnet Race later in the week, and this year was no exception.
You don’t win races at this level by “applying the anchors”, but that was effectively the instruction given by Team Director Tony Lawson. He was mindful of the fact that Concise 10 their MOD 70 tri had never raced in such a competitive field and he didn’t want his “rookie team” caught out.
With Imoca 60s like Banque Populaire in the mix, alongside Volvos 65’s such as SCA as well as three other world Class trimarans’ all sharing the same start, the line was inevitably going to be hot. There would be no room given or expected. Not a place for the faint hearted!
Concise 10 knew that once they were away they only had to focus on their two sister ships’ Oman Sail and Phaedo 3 and the much bigger Prince de Bretagne.
As the cannon roared out from The Royal Yacht Squadron, Concise 10 made the start nicely, mid-way down the line away from the crush at the favoured end. Phaedo meanwhile, made an incredible dash from port catching the other tri’s by surprise and leaving them trailing behind. Following in the chase boat Concise’s shore crew witnessed the weeks of training pay off as Concise 10 used the tides and some clean tacking to first of all overhaul Prince and then Phaedo putting them in second place behind the hugely experienced Sydney Gavinet and his Oman sail crew before they reached Lymington.
As these two MODS raced around the Isle of Wight It was clear the Sydney was leaving nothing to chance and was definitely not going to let Concise 10, the new boys on the block, ruin his party. Ned Collier Wakefield and the crew kept trying to get though Oman but Sydney repeatedly covered.
Meanwhile, Tony Lawson had slammed his way back down to Cowes in the chase boat, where he jumped ashore to check out a castle that had come up for sale (as one does), before heading off again towards Portsmouth to see his boat round the forts and “escort” it through the rest of the Cowes Week racing fleet to the finish line as required by the rules.
He admits he hadn’t a clue where the boat would be, but was hoping that, as he had seen earlier their training for the event might just have paid off.
As he approached Ryde he could see Oman Sail charging along and there not far behind was Concise 10. Prince de Bretagne was on the horizon and Phaedo not yet in sight.
Falling in with Concise 10 as her safety boat was easier said than done. Ned was flying two hulls, hitting speeds of nearly 40 knots (46 mph) and determined to close the gap between himself and Sydney on Oman. Oman finished first completing the Round Island Course in just over 3 hours’ 30 mins with Team Concise hot on her tail just 2 minutes behind her. Not bad for her first proper outing?
Concise 10 (MOD 70)
Ned Collier Wakefield