Swan 100 Fantasticaa and 80ft maxi Capricorno neck and neck on approach to ARC finish 7/12/06

Having taken very different routes, the two leading boats in ARC 2006 – a Swan 100 Fantasticaa and the 80ft maxi yacht Capricorno, are now just a day away from the St Lucia finish line, with the larger yacht ahead by a whisker – just 29 nautical miles in front of her Italian compatriots. However, the advantage is definitely with Capricorno, whose early decision to go north, has been rewarded by a much better gybe angle and higher speeds as they charge for the line.

Predicted ETAs show the two boats will arrive within minutes of each other. It could all come down to the very last gybe. At stake is a chance for ARC glory, and a new course record, currently held by the Volvo 60 Spirit with a time of 11 days, 13 hours, 12 minutes and 20 seconds set in ARC 2003. With the strong trade winds forecast to hold for the rest of this week, both yachts should arrive inside the record, but which one will gain the prize?

Elsewhere in the fleet the Sigma 400 Sunrise has torn her spinnaker. According to Scott the skipper a repair is currently being carried out commenting: “We need it back up, as the ‘normal’ 1.5 ounce is too big and light to use in these winds, so we are currently sailing on poled out jib – good for a rest anyway and we are still averaging 8.5 knots.”

Further drama was also reported this morning with news of the German Contest 48 Y Not losing her rudder. A collision with a submerged object appears to have damaged, or knocked off the rudder and the yacht is now being steered by drogues and sail trim. After heaving-to for a few hours to assess the damage, and with ARC yachts, Irie and Nunki, now sailing in company, Y Not has resumed her course towards St Lucia.