Another Open 60 withdraws from next week's race

Jonny Malbon today confirmed that Artemis Ocean Racing II has withdrawn from The Artemis Transat, starting on Sunday May 11 in Plymouth. The team has been working tirelessly to get the state of the art IMOCA Open 60 ready for her qualifier, and ultimately The Artemis Transat, but it has not been possible to complete the extensive list of checks and sea trials in time.

Skipper Jonny Malbon commented: “We have all worked very, very hard to get the boat ready, but circumstances out of our control have meant that we have been delayed. We have arrived at this difficult decision to keep the project on track for the Vendée Globe.”

“Our initial sailing has shown that the boat has huge potential but we simply have not had the time to complete the necessary workup to compete safely in The Artemis Transat. This has been a terrible decision to have to make, but I believe that it is the only decision that will ensure the team has a successful season and a well prepared Vendée campaign.”

Lack of time to complete the final stages of preparation and sea trials with the boat have meant that it was not possible for Malbon to qualify and compete safely in the race, which would see him face the cream of the IMOCA racing fleet in a sprint across the treacherous north Atlantic.

Speaking on behalf of Artemis Investment Management, CEO Mark Tyndall concluded, “We are obviously disappointed that we won’t have the opportunity to watch Jonny sail across the start line of The Artemis Transat in Artemis Ocean Racing II. However, safety is the priority throughout the team and we know that this is the right decision. We wish all the remaining skippers in The Artemis Transat the best of luck in this grueling event.”

“The new boat will soon be ready to begin training and everyone at Artemis Investment Management will support Jonny all the way to the start line of the Vendée Globe. We have every confidence that Jonny and the team will prepare themselves and the boat to the highest level and are excited about this next chapter of Artemis Ocean Racing.”

Malbon and the Artemis Ocean Racing team will now focus their attention and energy on the Vendée Globe in November 2008. With a strong British team of shore crew and supporters, Jonny will begin training and preparations in earnest. The current schedule is that Jonny and the team will finish the boat and start rigorous testing to get ready for offshore sailing and ultimately the 3,000 mile solo qualification passage that he must complete before the end of June.

For Malbon, the Vendée Globe is a natural progression for his career to take. It is the pinnacle of sailing in the class and the final frontier to be overcome. Going solo is another skill that he must learn in order to achieve this goal and is one that he doesn’t take lightly.

He commented, “The Vendée Globe is the biggest challenge I will have ever faced. 2008 will see the most competitive Vendee ever, with Vendee winners and world record holders in the fleet. I need to learn every inch of this fantastic new boat to give myself the best chance possible. I am under no illusions as to what lies ahead for me – I intend to give my all.”

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