Italian maxi yacht Capricorno breaks ARC record with a time of 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds 8/12/06

Eleven days and five hours of non-stop concentration; good tactics and almost constant east-north-east trade winds have paid off for Italian maxi yacht Capricorno, as they crossed the ARC finish line in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, to set a new ARC record of 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds.

Owner, Italian businessman Rinaldo Del Bono, was jubilant as the 24m Maxi crossed the finish line, the 12-strong crew cheering and waving to the assembled media and spectator boats. Much of the credit goes to American skipper, 36-year old Matthew Babcock, whose brave decision to stay north early on, paid off as their better gybe angle gave them superior speed to that of Italian rivals Fantasticaaa, during the last few days.

The two big boats were neck and neck yesterday, but Capricorno just managed to creep ahead of their larger rival, finishing three hours ahead of the Swan 100, and taking some seven hours off the existing ARC record. With 25 knots blowing across the finish line it was an unforgettable sight as Capricorno and her crew – all clad in aqua marine blue shirts -powered across the line close to the committee boat.

A jubilant Babcock said: “It’s been great sailing all the way, 20 knots surfing down waves non-stop. We’ve blown out two spinnakers but it was worth it!”

With current strong trade winds forecast to hold well into next week, this weekend should see plenty of arrivals, as the ARC yachts enjoy one of the fastest crossings for several years.