Becky Scott officially retires from Les Sables–Les Açores–Les Sables race

Artemis Offshore Academy Class Mini sailor Becky Scott has today made the difficult decision to retire from Les Sables – Les Açores – Les Sables after a broken autopilot main processor forced her to head back to Les Sables d’Olonne, France on Monday 30th July, after just 24 hours of racing.  Scott arrived back in Les Sables d’Olonne on Tuesday 31st July around 09:30 BST where she then had 36 hours in which to fix the fault and restart the race.  After replacing the faulty pilot and a successful test sail, it was looking hopeful that Scott would restart the race early this morning although the race committee had voiced concerns for Scott’s safety.  Restarting the race some 300nm behind the fleet and safety boat, and it being unlikely that Scott could finish before the start of leg 2 on the 14th August, Scott admitted:  “It was the right decision for me, but it is still very disappointing. I would have had 11 days in which to complete the leg and providing I had no further problems, would have given me two days rest before the start of Leg 2. It would have been difficult for me to get to the Azores and then be in a fit state to start the second leg.”

Becky Scott has today announced her retirement from Les Sables - Les Açores - Les Sables 2012 © Bernard Gergaud

Scott went on to say: “According to the rules I would have had to completed the race 84 hours behind the first boat which is not possible, so even if I finished I would be classed as a non-finisher and would not be eligible to compete in a class A race next year. I feel this is the right decision for me, although tough to swallow after a huge effort all year to be here on the start line.”

John Thorn Artemis Offshore Academy’s Performance Director paid tribute to Becky’s determination. “Becky identified a problem with her autopilot very early on in the leg but kept going hoping she could fix it. But the problem turned out to be with the main control box and she did not carry that spare. We know Becky is a very determined and stubborn character that can bring both positives and negatives! As Becky admitted herself in hindsight she should have turned back earlier rather than struggling on hoping she could fix it.  It was a difficult decision to take and it could have gone the other way for her if the problem had not been with the main control box, as she was carrying a spare autopilot mechanism.  But we know Becky will take this in her stride as part of her learning experience and this is why it is so important to get the Academy sailors racing as much as possible to allow them to live these experiences, even if they are harsh sometimes.”