Line honours go to Med Spirit as the first boats arrive in St. Lucia

ARC2011 line honours were taken last night by the Franco‐Russian team onboard Med Spirit. The 28.70m super‐maxi (ex Bols) skippered by Vladimir Kulinichenko and crewed by a mix of Russian and French sailors made the ARC crossing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia in 11 days, 14 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds, finishing at 02:54:37 UTC on 2 December. Alain Delhumeau’s 50′ Lerouge Pulsar trimaran, Rayon Vert (FRA) narrowly missed out on line honours, having lead the fleet since the start. Rayon Vert finished 1 hour 26 minutes behind Med Spirit after a light airs gybing battle that saw both boats come within 5 miles of Barbados as they sought a favourable angle. Rayon Vert’s finishing time was 04:20 UTC on 2 December.

Although both chasing the ARC crossing record, the boats chose different tactics from the start, with Rayon Vert taking a course about 300 miles north of Med Spirit. Impressive speeds have been logged, with both boats making 300 plus mile days. The boats were greeted in traditional ARC style with Saint Lucian drummers and a welcome rum punch for the 17 crew onboard Med Spirit and the five onboard Rayon Vert.

Light winds for the approach to Saint Lucia meant that the ARC crossing record remains intact– Set in 2006 by Rinaldo del Bono with Capricorno (ITA) of 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds. Other finishers included bright orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo (USA), which was the third boat to finish at 09:00 UTC, making her the first boat across the line in the Multihull Division (Rayon Vert is sailing in the Open Division). Fourth across the line, two hours later, was Whitbread maxi Rothmans (SWE). The first sub‐sixty‐footer to finish should be Open 40 Vaquita (AUT), expected in around 16:00 UTC today. After Vaquita, the next finishers are not expected until early on 4 December. The bulk of the cruising fleet will arrive in the next 10 days.