Good winds and record breaking times mark ARC 2015, but the winds and conditions took their toll on some

ARC 2015 has wrapped up in Saint Lucia following one of the fastest and largest event in the 30-year history of the transatlantic rally from Las Palmas. Over 260 yachts took part in the ARC and the ARC+ rally via Cape Verde and the course record was smashed by VO65 Team Brunel, which set a new time of 8 days 7 hours 39m.
Team Brunel finishes to break the ARC record

Team Brunel finishes to break the ARC record

The rally also had its difficulties, including the sinking of the yacht Magritte and rescue of four crew by a cargo ship. The crew were picked up in a last-minute evacuation with the boat flooded to the companionway steps – read more here, and the full account will be in our next issue.

The awards ceremony was a chance to recognise the achievements of the fastest and slowest of the 1,122 ARC sailors, the oldest and youngest, and the couples and families that are so much a part of this cruising classic.  It was an evening of celebration that included a marriage proposal as well – an impromptu proposal of marriage from Scarlet Oyster crewmember Tijs Van Langenhove live on stage to his surprised partner Anna.

Marriage proposal from Tise, crew on Scarlet Oyster

Marriage proposal from Tise, crew on Scarlet Oyster

Enno and Karin Rodegerdts of the Hallberg Rassy 310 Inua, were recognised for the difficult feat of being the first boat across the finishing line with only two crew, and received the Double-Handed award. A great effort for what was the smallest boat in ARC 2015. The Oldest Skipper went to Manfred on Albatros, a deserving winner having now sailed in 20 ARCs since 1986.

The Youngest Skipper award went to 22 year old Nicola Henderson on Hot Stuff for the second year in a row.

The winner overall in the cruising division, first on corrected time, and also taking division line honours was, Marisja (NED), Haico Endstra’s X-562, which was 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.

Briet and Lumber finish ARC 2015

Briet and Lumber finish ARC 2015

The Spirit of the ARC award went to the yacht Live Edge, the Schjelderup family from Norway, Petter and Camilla with their children Oscar (12), Nicolai (10) and Joachim (4) – were this year’s winners.

This year the ARC proved to be  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. A high percentage of boats sailed the whole course without any motoring and recording some of the shortest passage distances seen in recent years.

Crew of Thursday's Child ARC 2015

Crew of Thursday’s Child ARC 2015

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 40nm 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.