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Preparation for the Artemis Transat - Another Fastnet run

Press Date 24 April.     White Ocean Racing Artemis Transat Entry.

Steve White and the White Ocean Racing team now have an entry in the Artemis Transat race, which leaves Plymouth on the 11th of May. Steve will sail his Open 60 yacht Spirit of Weymouth 2,800 miles across the treacherous North Atlantic to Boston. Steve is no stranger to this stretch of water, having sailed Olympian Challenger to victory in the 2005 OSTAR, Original Single Handed Transatlantic Race, coming in four days ahead of his nearest rival.

Steve has done most of the boat preparation himself with the help of family and a few friends, but now Josh Hall will be stepping in to help Steve on the boat with the last minute details.

Steve will leave Weymouth on Monday or Tuesday to complete his 1000 mile, single handed qualifying passage for the Artemis Transat, he will arrive in Plymouth ready for race scrutineering on the 4th of May, the boats have to go through rigorous safety checks before they can race to Boston. Steve will be racing against fellow Brits, Dee Caffari, Johnny Malbon and Sam Davies, as well as some of the top French sailors. Last week Mike Golding (Ecover) and Brian Thompson (Pindar) pulled out of the Artemis Transat due to technical problems.

Steve will quite likely have the lowest budget on the Open 60 start line, so with literally days left until the start of the race, his team are still on the look out for potential sponsors for this event, with guaranteed U.K media and TV coverage. "A few thousand pounds can make a massive difference to a campaign like ours, every little really does help", said Steve.

Press Date 2 May.       The Artemis Transat Qualifier.

"Don’t forget the hacksaw blades " said Josh and Jason as Steve got ready to leave the comfort of Weymouth harbour on his 1000 mile qualifying passage for the Artemis Transat. I went to B&Q and came back with an assortment of blades. Eventually we waved Steve off at around mid day. As Jason and I drove home along Weymouth sea front we watched Steve set sail and Spirit of Weymouth disappear towards the horizon.

I spoke with Steve this morning. Yesterday he had headed out into 30 odd knots of wind directly on the nose! He said it was a "horrible start" but things improved, " the phosphorescence was beautiful, and the sky was full of brilliant clear stars ".

As usual, there were a few shakedown questions: "Where did you put the golden syrup?" And " It’s a good job you got those hacksaw blades, Josh has thrown out my tin opener " said Steve!

Steve was well on the way to his first waypoint and the weather had improved. He will be sailing West of Ushant, up to the Fastnet rock, and back into Plymouth. His latest reported position is 47.15N 8.55W.

Press Date 3 May.       Fastnet Again!.

Steve and the Spirit of Weymouth are about to round the Fastnet rock (again - for the 28th time) on his qualifying run, and will then be charging towards Plymouth to check in for the Artemis Transat.

Press Date 4 May. The home run.

At close to 6 am Steve rounded the Fastnet rock, and was on the last leg of his qualifier. He hopes to get in to Plymouth at around lunch time tomorrow (Monday). Steve sounded happy, all was well on board, and 'Spirit of Weymouth' was blasting along at 25 knots! A swallow joined the boat for a few hours rest and then went on its way. A lone dolphin stayed with the boat for a short while.

Steve's main complaints have been the food. Any tin with a ring pull lid was well in favour after the tin opener incident! Microwave rice without a microwave, that puzzled Steve, it was worth a phone call to find out what to do with it! Steve isn't known for his culinary know how. But in defense, it is difficult to stock a boat when you only have half an hour in Tesco!

Press Date 5 May.  Artemis Transat qualifier update.

Steve and 'Spirit of Weymouth' made it safely to Plymouth just after lunchtime today. The last few hours of his journey were plagued by thick fog and a distinct lack of wind. 'Spirit of Weymouth' is now 'tucked up' alongside the other Open 60 entrants in the Artemis Transat race village at the Barbican in the centre of Plymouth. Steve's priorities were a shower and a pint! Following a quick meeting with Josh Hall to discuss and make a jobs list for the boat, we left for home. There is still so much to organize before the start of the race on Sunday, so Steve will be back in Plymouth tomorrow to continue the boat preparations.

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