Leopard of London and Acaia Cube are the first two yachts to have arrived in St Lucia

For the second consecutive year, British yachtLeopard of Londonis the first ARC yacht to cross the finish line in Rodney Bay, St Lucia. At 14:17 and 37 seconds Saturday afternoon 3 December, she crossed the line and officially finished ARC2005. However, as an entry in the Open Division due to her size of 96 feet,Leopard of Londonwill not be a part of the ARC results.

Her largely Russian crew completed the successful crossing. As Skipper Chris Sherlock commented: “It’s been a great trip for us but loooong! Our Russian charter guests have been fantastic and excellent value. The eight of them had their own watch system, one hour on and seven hours off, and pretty much hand steered the whole way.”

Chris decided to stay south having looked at the forecast in Las Palmas before departure. “I had a gut feeling the low pressure system was going to turn nasty and we couldn’t afford to go there with charter guests on board.” They experienced headwinds all the way to the Cape Verdes and then just off the islands hit a hole of no wind for a couple of days. As they were sailing to a deadline with a new charter starting Sunday 4 December,Leopard of Londonhad to use the engine. “It was a pain as we would have loved to have sailed the whole way, however needs must and in fact we only motored just over three days”.

The next arrival in Rodney Bay wasAcaia Cube, the Farr Nauta 80DS, also an entry in the ARC2005 Open Division. As she stormed around the corner of Pigeon Island just after 11am Sunday morning, the finish-line boat was on station, stopwatch in hand. Looking very majestic,Acaia Cubeswept across the line at 11:14 and 31 seconds, rounded up and headed straight back out of the bay – next stop Antigua!

The finish line team just had time to power up alongside and pass over the welcome fruit basket and rum punch, before the sails filled and they were off once again. Due to return flights from Antigua and a slower trip than expected, a stop in St Lucia just was not possible forAcaia Cubeand her crew. They reported the trip was good, but slow, and they had had to use the engine quite a bit, which on a boat of that calibre is not ideal!

Meanwhile out at sea, many crews are wondering how much longer they will be out there. “What we are all really looking forward to is our first conversation with someone other than our crew mates, so we can find out once and for all if we really have lost the odd marble en route”, say the crew ofBrightside.