After a testing but enjoyable winter of training in La Grande Motte and a grueling selection series there could only be one place on the Artemis scholarship. Before the final long distance race any one of the three of myself Phil Sharp and Sam Goodchild could still have taken the series and this was probably still true with 30 miles to go until the finish of that race. The entire fleet of 10 boats all finished within 45 minutes after two days of racing and Sam and Phil were both clearly in sight from day break until the finish line. Unfortunately for me and Phil, Sam took a well earned third place in that race and with it the selection series. From here it was no surprise the selection panel picked Sam as along side performing the best in the races he has also ticked all the other boxes, from being totally committed all winter to being a nice guy and good ambassador for the program.
Never the less hearing the panel’s decision from Rod Car on the telephone one morning in the UK still felt like a crushing blow. There had been a lot of build up to that moment starting in November last year and going through all the hours spent in the gym, working on the boats in the cold winter evenings and pushing to stay awake and keep the boat trucking in the selection races. Hearing that news down the phone might have put pay to any serious hopes of being on the start line at this year’s soliatire it’s not all doom and gloom. This is a sensible time to start looking for funding for next years race and between now and then there is plenty of Figaro sailing to be done as well as lots of other racing, hopefully I’ll even get chance to sail the RS200 that has been sitting in a garage in Lymington since last November!
In the period since the decision I have had some time away from the Figaro, running a savage cross county half marathon, cycling around the south coast with friends and doing some racing in the Solent. It’s been good to have a break and spend some time planning the season ahead and now I’m focussed on getting the most out of the single handed Figaro races on the calendar as well as the UK Nationals, Fastnet and two handed Tour de Bretange. Along side this I also have some other fully crewed racing lined up on a range of boats in the UK and abroad.
This week I’m back in La Grande Motte to do some sail development work with some of the new membrane sails allowed in the rules this year before making my first Elvstrom Figaro sails. After the sailing it’s time to pack the boats away to be driven up to Lorient before the Solo Basse Normandy, my first proper solo race.