Over 1,100 participants completed the 30th edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers in 2015. Alongside record-breaking passage times were a dismasting, a sinking yacht and a marriage proposal
An awards ceremony in Rodney Bay, St Lucia on 19 December has brought the 30th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers to an end for another year. The fastest boats were recognised, alongside a host of awards that recognised the crews’ achievements in other ways whether fastest, slowest, oldest or youngest. The evening, which even included a marriage proposal, marked a successful crossing for the 1,122 participants in the event.
Enno and Karin Rodegerdts of the Hallberg Rassy 310 Inua, were recognised for being the first boat across the finishing line with only two crew, and received the Double-Handed award. The Oldest Skipper went to Manfred on Albatros, a deserving winner having now sailed in twenty ARCs since 1986. The Youngest Skipper award went to 22 year old Nicola Henderson on Hot Stuff, for the second year in a row. To emphasize that the ARC is as much about having a good time with new friends as it is about fast sailing, the Scottish crew of AWOL were awarded the Arch Marez Memorial Trophy for the best party boat.
The winner overall in the Cruising Division, being first on corrected time, and also taking division line honours was, Marisja (NED), Haico Endstra’s handsome X-562 sailing for the second time in the ARC. VO65 Team Brunel (NED) received a standing ovation from the crowd for their achievement of taking seven hours off the ARC Course Record, sailing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia in 8 days 7 hours 39m 30s. This is the third consecutive year that the ARC Course Record has been beaten.
The coveted The Spirit of the ARC award, given annually to the yacht crew that best displays the spirit of goodwill and enthusiasm, was awarded to Live Edge, the Schjelderup family from Norway, Petter and Camilla with their children Oscar (12), Nicolai (10) and Joachim (4).
In what was a classic tradewind crossing, a mix of strong winds at the start, lighter patches en route and a final surge into Saint Lucia, ARC 2015 was straight down the rhumb line, with a high percentage of boats sailing the whole course, and recording some of the shortest passage distances seen in recent years.
The strong tradewinds and fast passage times took a toll on ARC boats this year, with a larger than usual number of breakages of gear and sails. Pogo 40 Talanta (SWE) managed to finish despite losing one and half of their two rudders; Loupan had to sail 40 miles upwind to transfer repair materials to SeaBee to fix another steering problem, and Emily Morgan met with Duffy to give them extra fuel following the racing Dufour’s dismasting early on in the ARC. A crewmember from Lottus had to be medically evacuated following the sudden onset of symptoms related to a suspected brain tumour, and a crewmember on Hanse Sailor received medical advice from the fleet following a serious finger injury. Saddest of all was the loss of the yacht Magritte 12 days into the crossing, following an uncontrollable water leak on the 1981 Moody. ARC crews joined in spontaneous applause for owners Steve and Teresa Arnold, now safely back in the UK after being evacuated onto a commercial ship.
After thanking the dedication of the helpers from the Saint Lucia Tourist Boat, and the staff at Rodney Bay Marina, plus all the ARC sponsors in Saint Lucia and elsewhere, Andrew Bishop and his team were offered a standing ovation, and with that, the evening came to a close.