The Artemis Challenge has a history of big names battling it out to scoop a cash prize for charity and this year is no different. The race sees the return of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall as they race against experienced sailors Yasmin and Simon Le Bon in the 50 mile round-the-Island dash on August 7th.
The race forms part of Ladies Day at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the world’s largest sailing regatta, and features a fleet of some of the fastest offshore racing yachts, ranging from 60 to 70 feet, both monohulls and multihulls, with each crewed by up to 12 sailors. Each team is racing for a share of the £10,000 prize fund which will be donated to a charity of their choice.
Within the fleet, two ocean-pedigree trimarans will be hoping to break the record for racing around the Isle of Wight, last set during the Artemis Challenge in 2012. Musandam-Oman Sail and Prince de Bretagne will be hoping the conditions will deliver fast and furious sailing as they lead out the fleet of five monohulls from the Royal Yacht Squadron start line at 10 AM.
Phillips and Tindall will be on-board Artemis Ocean Racing II, skippered by the solo sailing big gun, Brian Thompson while the Le Bons are on Azzam with the crew of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, one of the six current challengers for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Azzam is skippered by one of Britain’s most successful sailors, double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker. They will be joined by the inspirational Keith Burhans, a 58-year-old Paralympic sailor from the USA, who became a double lower leg amputee in 1995 after a boating accident in which he saved the lives of his two daughters. The determined sailor fought his way back to the sport he loved and represented the USA at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Keith earned the chance to race with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing through a Facebook competition voted for by fans of the team.
Other high-profile boats in the fleet include Team SCA, an all-female crew set to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Skippered by Brit Sam Davies, Team SCA is entering the race with the world's best women offshore-racing sailors, and will be racing for the first time against another Volvo Ocean Race contender, Dongfeng Race Team, which is aiming to create a competitive team with a backbone of Chinese sailors.
You can keep up with all the action of this fast and furious event thanks to the teams having a Yellowbrick on board. The tracker will update the fleets position every minute meaning friends, family, supporters and even the Queen can follow the progress of the fleet. For more information and news on this event please visit the Artemis Challenge website.