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Sailing - 13. May 2008.

The Artemis Transat start

As the boats left the dock this morning, weather analysis and predictions
were getting more precise for the 3000-mile long course towards Boston. With
10 knots of easterly breeze, the descent towards the Eddystone Omega race
gate should take less than an hour. The singlehanders, flying their big
kites (400 square metres), will later have to cope with decreasing winds (2
to 7 knots) shifting to the North - moreover, the tide will complicate their
progression tonight. The breeze should then kick in again, and finally
stabilise Monday morning West of Ireland (E-NE, approximately 10 knots),
implying that the skippers will have to make the most of the conditions they
will encounter right after the starting gun. A lot of manoeuvring is to be

credit: onEdition/The Artemis Transat/OC Events
Dee Caffari (Aviva) at the start of the Artemis Transat.

With 13 IMOCA Open 60 and 11 Class40 monohulls entered, The Artemis Transat
2008 boasts an impressive lineup - a closer look at the names and associated
CVs reveals quite a few significant figures, proving once again that this
mythical event created in 1960 remained the ultimate ocean racing test
throughout the decades.

The Artemis Transat 2008 - Key figures
13 IMOCA Open 60s, 11 Class40, 6 nationalities, More than 270 Atlantic
crossings between them, 6 Vendée Globe participations, 2 Vendée Globe
winners, 16 Transat* participations, 5 Transat* victories between them
(overall or class victories)

credit: onEdition/The Artemis Transat/OC Events
Knut Frostad, CEO Volvo Ocean Race and Ellen MacArthur on the start day of the Artemis Transat race.

*OSTAR, Europe 1 Star, Europe 1 New Man Star, The Transat

Race partners Omega, Renault and BT add their support.
Joining title partner, Artemis, and an array of other supporting partners,
are Omega, Renault and BT. Omega, who were the main partner for The Transat
in 2004, continue their association as official timekeeper. A giant Omega
clock will be placed at Sutton Harbour to countdown to the start at 1400BST
on Sunday, 11th May. And it will be the precision of Omega timekeeping that
will record key timings during the race as the fleet cross race gates and
ultimately the finish line. Omega will also be offering six OThe Artemis
Transat¹ special edition watches as prizes to competing skippers: three for
the podium winners in the IMOCA class, one for the Class 40 winner, one for
the first boat to Omega Race Gate 1 at Eddystone Lighthouse, the first gate
of the course, and one for the 24-hour distance record setter in the race.
Communications provider, BT, and car supplier, Renault, will provide
essential services in kind in their respective categories to The Artemis
Transat. BT, as official communications supplier to the race, is providing
integral communications and IT support. This includes providing Sutton
Harbour with WiFi via BT Openzone to the race fleet, when in port, visiting
guests and international media. Renault, official vehicle supplier, has
provided a fleet of Espace vehicles to the organisation for use during the
start period. ³All professional sporting events rely on sponsorship and we
are no different in that regard,² commented Francois Vergnol from the OC
Events Commercial Team, ³so it is especially pleasing to welcome Omega, BT
and Renault to the family of supporting partners and suppliers to The
Artemis Transat.²

Official charity, Ellen MacArthur Trust on the fundraising trail.
The Ellen MacArthur Trust is the official charity to the race and is
planning a proactive week of fundraising in Plymouth. Members of the public
can come and have a go at a Virtual Skipper game and try beat Ellen¹s best
time and the chance to win a bottle of G.H. Mumm Champagne for the best time
of the week. The Ellen MacArthur Trust¹s aim is to support, empower and
enliven children suffering from cancer, leukaemia or other serious illnesses
by introducing them to the joys of sailing on the sea. The Trust work with
children all over the UK including the south-west of England.

For full information on the Race and programme of events, please visit the
website http://www.theartemistransat.com
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