Brian Thompson completes Route du Rhum qualifier aboard Open 60 29/8/06

Brian Thompson, aboard the Open 60 Artemis Ocean Racing entered the docks at Leith, in Edinburgh, Scotland at 0300 hrs this morning, having completed his solo qualifying leg for the Route du Rhum, which starts on 29 October in St Malo and finishes in Guadeloupe. The qualifier which covers 1,500 miles, took Brian from Southampton via the west coast of Ireland and the Shetland Islands, before heading south to Leith, the home of Artemis Ocean Racing.

Thompson will be the only British competitor in his class in the Route de Rhum, which is one of the most established single-handed transatlantic races in the world. The race has been contested every four years since 1978 and takes the fleet of 13 Open 60s on a 3,510-mile dash across the Atlantic.

Brian left Southampton last Monday evening to make the qualifying trip to Edinburgh in lightening winds as he headed west out of the Solent. A great opportunity for testing sails and systems aboard, this was the first time Brian has been able to sail Artemis solo over several hundred miles.

Arriving in Leith, Brian commented: “I had a great trip up here, and am really pleased with the boat and how she has performed. It was fantastic to get out into the open water of the Atlantic and we experienced some perfect weather for solo training. It’s great for the team to know that the qualifier is done and in the bag, so now we can concentrate on getting Artemis perfected for the start of the Route du Rhum in October. I’m really looking forward to my first solo race on her.”

Brian’s qualifying leg also served as a delivery trip, delivering Artemis Ocean Racing to Leith for the boat’s official Scottish launch, which will take place at the Ocean Terminal on Friday 1 September. The head office of Artemis, one of the UK’s leading investment companies, is based in Edinburgh, and welcomes the Open 60 to Edinburgh for the first time.

Mark Tyndall, Chief Executive of Artemis commented: “Becoming involved in sailing through sponsoring Brian Thompson has been an exciting new project for Artemis. We are delighted to welcome Brian and the team to Leith and are pleased to learn that he will definitely be on the startline in St Malo this October. Brian is a hugely impressive individual, and we wish him the best of luck in his final preparations for the Route du Rhum.”