This photo appears to show a yacht abandoned in haste


Anyone who sees the word ARC and thinks it’s somehow a doddle has never done an ocean crossing. This year proved that, like any ocean voyage, it is a challenge and has to be taken very seriously. Some saw winds of over 50 knots at times, there were broken booms, rig failures, rudder failures, third degree burns and a skipper who tragically lost his life as a result of a head injury.

Unconnected with the ARC, several boats got into serious trouble. One yacht sank (more of that later) and at least three others were abandoned for various reasons and left floating.

I thought you would like to see a picture of one of those yachts, Barbary Duck, whose crew were rescued from their liferaft by an ARC yacht after one of the chainplates cracked. I wrote about this two weeks ago because I felt it should have been scuttled. This picture is interesting because it was taken two days after she was abandoned by a yacht that passed very close, and I think you can see she had been left in quite a hurry.

The boat was dismasted sometime within the following four days, as another yacht nearly ran into it, yet it remained floating. This Saturday (two weeks later), a German yacht almost hit the derelict boat at night. By then she had drifted over 600 miles from the abandoned position and was less than 1,000 miles from the Caribbean.

The two crew, by the way, declined to be interviewed in St Lucia as they felt it might jeopardise their insurance claim.

For a full report on this year’s ARC and the incidents connected with it, don’t miss our February issue.