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2018 ARC+: Swanning around

by World Cruising Club 4 Dec 2018 15:33 UTC
ARC 2018 - Rohkea Crew © World Cruising

Chasing across the Atlantic bow to stern, or should it be beak to tail, our two Swan 46's – Rohkea and Gertha 5 - arrived into Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia this morning, just 35 minutes apart after over 2000 nautical miles from Cape Verde!

Simon Ridley, skipper and owner of Gertha 5, spoke on the dock after his arrival "I've done 3 crossings now" said the ARC veteran "and this was the easiest. The wind was consistent and apart from one day when we were hunting for wind, it was lovely sailing". It was smiles all around as crews from both boats exchanged banter and mutual congratulations whilst toasting their arrival with ice-cold rum punch. The two boats have a close connection, not quite sister-ships as Gertha is a Mk1 and Rohkea a newer Mk2 boat. In fact, Simon almost bought Rohkea before settling on the older Swan as he "wanted a bit of a project"! Adding to the family feel, Simon's previous boat – Gertha 4 – is also taking part in the ARC with new owner Dave Moring and his young family.

The first few arrivals of the ARC+ fleet have built into a constant stream of boats over the last 24 hours, with almost 30 boats now docked at Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. Consensus so far it that it has been a classic crossing, with good winds, relatively few Atlantic rain squalls, and seas ranging from calm to "washing machine" with cross swells making it bumpy the later part of the passage.

Out at sea, the first of the boats on the direct route – the JP56, The Kid (FRA), and Swan 80, Umiko (GBR) are duelling towards the finish, with the lighter French racer expected to take line honours on Thursday 6th. It won't be a course record, but at 9 days from Gran Canaria is still a very respectable crossing. On the ARC+ Saint Vincent route, boats are making firm progress with first arrivals expected into Blue Lagoon Marina on Friday.

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