The crew of the Nicholson 35 Blue Tarn get a mid-Atlantic surprise for breakfast during the ARC


Skipper Robert Foreman and crew Tony Leighton had a long crossing onboard the Nicholson 35 Blue Tarn in this year’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), a little over 24 days. But of all the memories they have amassed in their epic two-handed Atlantic crossing, one, recorded in crewman Tony Leighton’s ARC blog on 10 December, will stand out above all others.

‘Our Hydrovane self-steering gear steers us quite happily except when the wind is very light or we are motoring,’ reported crew Tony in his blog, ‘then we attach an electronic tillerpilot to the Hydrovane’s own short tiller. Once, we engaged the tillerpilot but forgot to remove the locking pin on the rudder and the vane’s tiller snapped.

‘We were about to have morning coffee when the tiller snapped again. We checked and found the pin was unlocked, then looked over the stern to check the rudder, where we saw a 9ft hammerhead shark in the attack position (upside down) trying to bite the rudder blade. It had obviously prevented the rudder from moving which had caused the tiller to snap. We pushed down the throttle and zig-zagged on the wheel but it took 10 minutes before it left us in peace.’