A young Cornish yachtsman and Truro School Former Pupil was among the major prize winners at the recent Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Annual Prize giving in London.
Robin Elsey, 22, from Perranarworthal, together with crew member Will Harris from Surrey, successfully campaigned the Figaro, Artemis 43, during 2014. Both these young sailors are members of the Artemis Offshore Academy, which was set up in 2010 to encourage British youth into shorthanded sailing. They won The Highwayman’s Cup for the best elapsed time over four offshore races, The Cervantes Trophy, The Morgan Cup, Cowes-Dinard-St. Malo and The Cherbourg Race. In addition, they won the Peter Harrison Youth Trophy awarded for the best crew under the age of 25. A great end to a full season.
Robin began his sailing career in Mylor’s Restronguet Sailing Club, progressing through the RYA Squads in Optimists, Toppers, Laser Radial into Laser Standard and representing Britain in European and World Championships before progressing into keelboat racing. Initially he became a member of the British Keelboat Academy, during which time he became the youngest participant in the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2011. Robin was selected to become a part-time member of the Artemis Offshore Academy Squad and for the last three years he has combined his sailing career with studying for a Geology degree at Southampton University. He still found time to finish 4th in the Figaro Class in 2013 Rolex Fastnet race with Sam Matson.
Robin is now a full time member of the Artemis Squad and is training hard in solo racing with the aim of competing in the Solitaire du Figaro Race in May 2015. This gruelling race is considered the unofficial world championship of singlehanded offshore racing, in which some of the most famous sailors in the world compete. It is also the breeding ground for future Vendee Globe skippers and to compete in this iconic race has been Robin’s long held ambition.
Robin said “Artemis Offshore Academy has given me great opportunity to gain race experience and a solid grounding in the skills I need to succeed in my chosen field. I am currently training hard for the Solitaire but I know I have to constantly improve my skills in order to compete with the highly experienced French sailors who excel in this race. Last year I helped prepare the yachts for the Solitaire and this was a great insight into the professionalism required by both ground crew and sailors. The squad will soon be moving to France to train and I am really looking forward to training alongside a highly competitive French Figaro fleet which I know will be a steep learning curve.”
The course for the Solitaire du Figaro 2015, which is set over 2000 miles in four stages, will be announced at the Paris Boat Show and it is hoped there will be a UK stopover. Last year Plymouth hosted the race.
During his sailing career Robin has been helped by Lord Lieutenant’s Fund for Youth, The John Merrick’s Trust and local Rotary Clubs, and he is mindful of the great assistance they have given him. Ian Walker, trustee of the John Merrick’s Trust currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, has been a source of inspiration and help to Robin.
Robin said: “I was given the opportunity to take part in the delivery of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing yacht from Cowes to Alicante for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race and to see firsthand the incredible high standard of skill, preparation and maintenance involved in the campaign has given me a clear idea of benchmark I need to achieve to succeed in my racing and sailing career”.
Follow Robin’s career on his website.