Solitaire du Figaro – Artemis Offshore Academy pick final squad member

Henry Bomby sailing from Lorient - Solitaire du Figaro 2012
Solitaire du Figaro 43rd edition gets underway on 24th June. Artemis Offshore Academy squad member Henry Bomby will compete alongside Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry. Both Goodchild and Cherry have known since end of last year that they would be competing in this notoriously competitive solo race, but a third and final place was available to the remaining Artemis squad members – Bomby, Ollie Bond and Aaron Cooper. It was just a question of which one of them could prove they deserved the final place.

Henry Bomby - Solitaire du Figaro 2012
After this weekend’s Solo Basse Normandie it was confirmed that Henry Bomby would be given the final spot after his solid and improving performance over the last few months, including finishing fourth in the Solo Basse Normandie just behind Nick Cherry: 'It was never a ‘given’ that the third available place for the Solitaire du Figaro would be allocated,' said Artemis Offshore Academy Performance Director, John Thorn. 'The advisory board decided that the place would only go to a squad member who had convinced us they would benefit from the experience, as well as proving that they had harnessed the required skills to take on this arduous race. Henry has proved that and now it’s important that he competes to the best of his abilities and learns from the experience racing alongside some of the best solo sailors in the world.'

Now in its 43rd season, the 2012 Solitaire du Figaro has attracted 36 sailors – the first-timers like Bomby and Cherry are also ranked in the ‘Rookie Division’ as well as overall – and is based on elapsed time over three legs from France to Spain and back. Over the years this race has a roll-call like no other, graced by many solo sailing legends – Alain Gautier, Michel Desjoyeaux, Vincent Riou, Jean Le Cam, Christophe Augin and Philippe Poupon. Out of six editions of the ultimate non-stop solo round the world Vendée Globe race three of those have been won by Solitaire du Figaro victors – Gautier, Augin and Desjoyeaux. So it is no surprise that the Artemis sailors will face some of their stiffest competition yet in the Solitaire du Figaro which grants them an incredible opportunity to learn from the masters.

As the country celebrated the Diamond Jubliee, Artemis Offshore Academy soloist Nick Cherry celebrated his own jubilant end to the 300nm Solo Basse Normandie race, after pipping fellow Academy sailor Henry Bomby to third place. It proved to be a fierce in-house battle between Cherry and Bomby, both sailors leaping up and dropping down the nine-boat leaderboard over three days, but never apart for too long. The race was a tough 300nm tidal race, requiring plenty of short tacking upwind and inshore along the rocky French coastline, with the skippers battling winds of up to 30 knots. It was a close race throughout with Cherry finishing only 11 minutes behind the winner Alexis Loison. Read the full race report here.

Artemis Offshore Academy website