Records may tumble if winds hold

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

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′.

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 today, Thursday 1 December. Once the boats are within 100
miles of Saint Lucia, the positions will be updated hourly on the Fleet Viewer
ARC boats are fitted with a Yellowbrick Iridium satellite tracker which is
polled every 4 hours as standard.

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

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.