Following a busy 2017 season of racing around the French and British coastline including La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro and The Rolex Fastnet Race, The Offshore Academy sailors resume training, turning their attention to the 2018 season.
With an intention to once again field multiple boats for the Class Figaro season and Solitaire race, The Offshore Academy continues to support and assist its sailors in promoting their development. With the 2018 Solitaire race moved to late August, the Academy sailors have some time to prepare and are making the most of the winter training opportunities in the UK.
Hugh Brayshaw winner of the 2017 Solitaire Amateur prize, skippering ‘The Offshore Academy’ finds himself in a good position having won a free entry for the 2018 race. He will form part of the General Classification having given up his amateur status to concentrate on his offshore sailing full time.
Hugh Brayshaw, said: “2018 will be my third season in the Figaro class, having competed as a Rookie in 2016 and as an Amateur this year I’m under no elusions that next year will have its challenges being ranked in the General Classification. Commenting on the winter training Hugh continues: It’s great being back out on the Figaro and training alongside fellow British Figaro sailors, we hope to make good use of the variety of conditions this time of year provides and look forward to moving to France in the New Year.
Returning to the Class Figaro circuit for the 2018 season after a year away from the class, Nick Cherry will skipper Figaro #56 ‘Redshift’ in what will be Cherry’s 6th season on the circuit.
Charles Darbyshire, Project Director said: “2017 has been a challenging year for The Academy – we have had a mix of results with Hugh Brayshaw and Mary Rook who’ve been competing under The Offshore Academy program on the Class Figaro circuit and La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro race. The sailors throughout the year have shown a visible progression and continue to develop, we are pleased for Hugh and his Amateur Classification victory, a big improvement on his Rookie ranking. For 2018 we will see the return of Nick Cherry who comes back to the class after a successful season based in the Solent racing 2 handed and fully crewed under IRC. We hope our entry roster will be boosted before the start of the Solitaire in August, and the team here at Fourth Cape are very focused on achieving the funding required to get more boats to the start line”
Darbyshire continues: “Time is now slightly on our side with the Solitaire event not until late August, this allows a longer build up and for the sailors to focus on the Class Figaro circuit which gets underway in March. Whilst we work on the 2018 season, we are looking further into the future as 2019 will see the introduction of the amazing looking Bénéteau Figaro 3, and so we want to ensure we are in a position to move smoothly into this new class. World Sailing continue to support the idea of an Offshore World Championship and a possible Offshore Olympic Medal with the Figaro 3 well placed to be the boat of choice, ensuring we are competitive as soon as possible is a big priority for us. The finish of the 2018 Solitaire will be in Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, France the global HQ and home of Bénéteau. It will mark the transition to the Bénéteau Figaro 3, with their revolutionary foil technology and other less visual innovations, the Figaro 3 looks set to have an exciting future.”
More Photos of the Figaro 3 in action HERE