Last week saw a big adventure for the Artemis Mini. Early Wednesday morning Phil Johnston flew to Amsterdam to pick up the newly acquired Artemis van. Then driving 1000 miles from Amsterdam to Lorient to pick up both the boat and I and begin the trip down to Italy a further 1300 odd miles.

The journey began with a bit of excitement involving warning lights on the dashboard. After a quick Google we discovered it could have been due to a number of problems. We pulled into Nantes for the evening to go to the garage first thing.

The garage was very efficient and after plugging a computer into the dashboard we knew the problem wasn’t fatal and they said we would have no issues continuing on to Italy.

Back on the road we continued our journey south, travelling through, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Marseille where the Figaro’s were just finishing their first race of the ICOM Cup. Midday Saturday we crossed the Italian border and started weaving round the mountains, through tunnels over bridges. Each of which had there own name and length displayed on entry.

As we crossed the border life seemed to be instantly more dangerous, Italian drivers…just wow! We narrowly missed what could have been a horrendous accident. Coming round a corner to see breaking lights, only two cars behind a spin out. Phil with his Ninja skills reacted immediately and we averted the problem. Not quite so lucky for those behind, a lorry spun out right behind us and took out a car. We drove on somewhat dumbstruck – that could well have been the boat and us.

After what seemed like hours of driving through tunnels we emerged out the mountains and back onto straight roads. Only to be greeted by an epic storm with thunder and lighting. 

11pm we arrived at Achab Yacht Club, not quite sure if we were on the right road we slowly drove down this deserted quite dodgey looking lane. Greeted by Sergio who kindly opened up the yard for us and invited us into the club for a beer, where we joined Lizzy who flew into Rome earlier that day.

Massive thank you to Phil for driving over 2500 miles to get me here – legend! Not only driving so far but for successfully navigating around every petrol station, car park and payage with the boat – not an easy task.


It’s now 3 days till the start of my first solo race. The boat is in the water and we have passed inspection.

Bring it on!