Sam Goodchild, 21, has been picked for Artemis scholarship and already has a fan club

Congratulations to Sam Goodchild, who has been selected as the X Factor style winner of the Artemis Offshore Academy. The 21-year-old has been selected as the most promising all-round future solo racing prospect after more than six months of intensive racing and training.

Sam will go on to compete in the Solitaire du Figaro solo races in July, in a circuit which is traditionally a hothouse for some of the great French sailing talent.

I have met Sam a couple times in the last few years because several people have steered me in his direction. They have been “Meet Sam; he’s going places” type introductions.

Since then I have heard only good things about this promising young man. What have I been told? He’s a really likeable guy, a fantastic team player, modest and incredibly mature for his years. This has come from various sources, including some top solo sailors.

He has worked as ‘the nipper’ for Miranda Merron on the Class 40 40 Degrees and for Mike Golding on his IMOCA 60 and they have high praise for Sam.

He was selected from a group of eight promising offshore sailors including Olympic medallist Simon Hiscocks and Route du Rhum class winner Phil Sharp and says: “No-one was a weak link. I don’t think I’m particularly strong in any area, but I’m good at a variety of things and my sailing’s pretty good – I won the sailing series by one point, which for us was the only gaugable thing.”

But if I guess right, Sam’s attitude and background in seamanship was a factor. He grew up on his parent’s boat, a 33ft wooden double-ender, in the Caribbean. He has sailed and lived on board since he was two weeks old.

His father is a yacht surveyor and Sam is very familiar with the repairing and preserving mentality that is absolutely essential for longer solo races.

Sam’s ambition is to race in the Vendée Globe and perhaps one day to be the first Briton to win it. “Fully crewed sailing doesn’t excite me overly; it’s solo racing I want to do,” he says.

After the Figaro racing this autumn he will, like all of Britain’s solo sailors bar Alex Thomson, be looking for sponsorship. What you can say about Sam Goodchild is here’s your chance to be involved with a popular up-and-coming star at the beginning of what will probably be a long career in the sport.