The Artemis Even Keel Challenge @ Cowes Week
Top names are signed up to compete in the final round of this new Pro-Am series
Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK: A fleet of six Simon Rogers-designed Artemis 20 keelboats, helmed by qualified UKSA skippers and crewed by 12 novice sailors from a mixed background of disability or disadvantage, will compete for the inaugural Artemis Even Keel Challenge Trophy over two days at Cowes Week in early August. The race winners from Day 1 will then be joined by some of the leading names in sailing for what is set to be a highly competitive Pro-Am finale on Day 2. Each celebrity sailor will guest helm on the final race. Steve White and Brian Thompson are already in place and Dee Caffari and Mike Golding have agreed to race depending on their final sponsor commitments.
This new series is the brainchild of the Even Keel Project and its partners UKSA and is being mounted with the full backing and support of its primary sponsor Artemis Investment Management. The Artemis Even Keel Challenge has been put in place to help promote sailing as a ‘sport for all’ to Cowes Week’s massive audience of sailors, media and spectators.
The Artemis Even Keel Challenge series kicks off on Sunday 1st August at 5.30pm with 12 novice sailors and their qualified UKSA skippers competing in two races over a set course off Princes Green, between the Royal Yacht Squadron and Egypt Point. They will race under the official rules of racing and the watchful eye of a Race Officer and each race will last around 30 minutes.
The top three sailors from each race qualify for the final on Day 2, Monday 2nd August at 5.30pm. Spectators will then enjoy watching a host of top-flight sailors and their crew fighting it out to win the inaugural Artemis Even Keel Challenge Trophy that will be presented by a VIP guest at a prize giving ceremony after racing is completed. There will be 12 certificates for the initial race crew members, six medals for the finalists and just the one Trophy for the overall winner.
The individuals who will make up the initial 12 crew to compete at this exciting event are being chosen over the course of the next few weeks at the Even Keel Project’s UK base at UKSA through their recently launched ‘Try Sailing’ programme. The mixed age sailors will be selected as much for their enthusiasm and desire to participate as for their sailing ability.
Speaking on behalf of The Even Keel Project, Managing Director Dave Rutter said, “Since the start of the Artemis Even Keel Project at UKSA, it has been both humbling and invigorating to see so many people sign up to use the project from such a wide range of disabilities and backgrounds many of whom had never sailed before. Watching them signing up for more sailing having caught the bug is simply fantastic. To now have the support of some of the world’s best sailors is quite simply adding icing on the cake.”
Dave is also quick to highlight that none of this would be possible without the huge support from the sponsor, Artemis Investment Management, the teams at UKSA, Cowes Week Limited and of course the pro sailors for taking time out of their busy schedules to help make this Challenge happen. He continues, “I would like to say thank you to everyone for all their help in changing peoples’ lives through their support of the Project.“