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ARC2011: First Arrivals Expected Today

By Sue Richards last modified Dec 01, 2011 08:54 PM

Published: 2011-12-01 20:54:56
Topics: Rallies
Countries: Canary Islands , St Lucia

Crossing record may tumble if wind holds
1 December 2011, Cowes UK

The leading boats in the ARC2011 fleet are expected to arrive in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia today (Thursday December 1, 2011).

Five boats have led the fleet since the start in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 20 November. 50' trimaran Rayon Vert (FRA), skippered by transatlantic veteran Alain Delhumeau, has set the pace in the Open Division, closely followed by 92' super-maxi Med Spirit (FRA/RUS). Classic Whitbread maxi Rothmans (SWE) leads the Invitation Racing Division, with Gunboat 66 Phaedo (USA) leading the Multihull Division.

The most extraordinary performance of the ARC so far comes from Akilaria 40 Vaquita (AUT), skippered by Christof Petter. Vaquita is within 50 miles of the leading pack, and over 250 miles ahead of her closest rival in the Racing Division. Racing under IRC, 12.19m Vaquita is likely to make the fastest ARC crossing ever for a monohull under 60'.

ARC Crossing Record

With a forecast for lighter winds as the boats approach Saint Lucia, the chances are fading for smashing the ARC crossing record set in 2006 by Rinaldo del Bono with Capricorno (ITA) of 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds. To beat the record, the boats must finish before 18:17:30 UTC (14:17:30 local time) today, Thursday 1 December.

Once the boats are within 100 miles of Saint Lucia, the positions will be updated hourly on the ARC Fleet Viewer. All ARC boats are fitted with a Yellowbrick Iridium satellite tracker which is polled every 4 hours as standard.

ARC2011 Fleet

The majority of the boats have passed the half-way point and are expected to arrive in Rodney Bay Marina over the next week and a half. Each boat will receive a personal welcome, including the traditional fruit basket and rum punch.

The moderate tradewinds experienced by the boats this year mean that thus far there have been few breakages or other dramas. Over 90 boats are submitting blogs and pictures to the ARC website and you can read their stories here.

Of the 217 boats that left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 20 November, 212 remain actively sailing for Saint Lucia. Two boats retired in the Canaries for personal reasons and one is making for Antigua. Two boats in the Cape Verdes are expected to rejoin the fleet later this week.