Three ARC yachts have had to divert to the Cape Verde islands with damage or injury

Three yachts taking part in the ARC transatlantic rally have diverted to the Cape Verde islands, one after being dismasting, another after complete rudder failure and a third with a crew injury.

Racing yacht Spock, a Farr 585CC owned by German sailor Thomas Schumacher, lost her mast on Friday and the crew managed to cut it away before motoring to Mindello. World Cruising Club (WCC) manager Andrew Bishop comments: “They dealt with the MRCC and were very self-contained.”

She will be joined by Modus Vivendi, a Motiva 49, a cruising division boat skippered by Norwegian Dag Rorslett. The entire rudder of the boat dropped out of the boat, a heavy Danish steel-built pilothouse cruiser. The crew reportedly managed to stop up the hole.

Fortunately they have Hydrovane self-steering gear, which has a transom mounted auxiliary rudder, so they are sailing gently slowly under staysail to the Cape Verdes.

On another yacht a crewmember dislocated his shoulder. His crewmates were unable to locate it back in the socket and they have also diverted to the Cape Verdes for medical help.

The rest of the cruising fleet have had good tradewinds since their first day at sea on Tuesday after a delayed start, with strong north-easterlies driving them quickly on their way to Saint Lucia.

Meanwhile, the racing division has had a mixed bag of weather, but the leading group including a Swan 80, the JP54 and new Pogo 50 could be on course to finish in around 11 days, possibly close to the record.

But the big story is a real David and Goliath battle being fought by the Class 40 Vaquita, skippered on this third ARC by ex-VOR sailor Andreas Hanakamp and crewed by some top dinghy sailors. This crew is making a stand-out performance by sticking, on their own, to a very northerly route.

The Akilaria Class 40 is currently the race leader and lying well ahead of the 2nd placed boat, Berenice a Swan 80.