ARC 2023 Celebrates Unique Achievements of Sailors ⛵

By Reginald Andrew
Cruising Division winners – Beneteau First 435 Algol (ITA)…
Cruising Division winners – Beneteau First 435 Algol (ITA)…

Last Saturday, the Beausejour Indoor Facility came alive with much pomp and fanfare to celebrate the culmination of the 38th edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers [ARC], with an awards ceremony.

Describing the 2,700 nautical miles Atlantic crossing as a ‘unique event’, the 500- strong sailors’ gathering beamed with pride to the unique elements that make this rally so popular – great sailing, fishing, photography, families, fun and friendship.

Sailors mingle at the Awards ceremony
Sailors mingle at the Awards ceremony

A total of 55 yachts, including a record-breaking 44 multihulls, set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 19 November, sailing an average 3,000 nautical miles to the Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. One hundred and fifty-one vessels finished in time to join the awards ceremony, while the final boat in the fleet, Graptolite (DEU), was due to arrive in Saint Lucia by Monday.

Three boats retired, diverting to other Caribbean islands for non-critical boat ‘breakages.

ARC 2023 Fleet anchor at IGY Rodne4y Bay Marina
ARC 2023 Fleet anchor at IGY Rodne4y Bay Marina

World Cruising Club (WCC) – the major organsiers of the event, declared that, “Characterised by a light wind start and moderate tradewind conditions, 2023 has been a transat to remember for the 930 crew – from 11-month-old Emmet on Sulyna (GBR) to the ARC’s oldest sailor, 89-year-old Joff Hutchinson on Carrick (GBR).”

The first boat to finish was Marco Rodolfi’s Swan Berenice Cube (GBR), claiming line honours in the Racing Division in 12 days, 13h 54m 34s, followed seven hours later by Regis Guillemot’s Marsaudon ORC50 Ti Ana (FRA).

ARC 2023 Fleet anchor at IGY Rodne4y Bay Marina
ARC 2023 Fleet anchor at IGY Rodne4y Bay Marina

ARC: More Than Sailing

The ARC is about more than the fastest boat, and as always, the ceremony recognised individual achievements and contributions to the rally ethos and atmosphere. There were special thanks for the volunteers who ran the SSB radio net at sea, providing both the social glue for the rally and an important safety feature: Ian (Asante) Jeorg (Kinscem), Wolf (Mola) Graeme (Promise 4), Patrick (Ri Ra), Adam (Saltair), Dan (Skyelark 2), Chris (Tahira), as well as those that maned the finish line VHF.

As a family event, the 20 children of ARC 2023 received special medals and certificates of achievement, with the Spiegel family on Hallberg-Rassy Saltair (USA) awarded best family performance on corrected time.

The 38 sailors aged over 65 weren’t forgotten, with Ron Burns of NiteOut (USA) who celebrated his 79th birthday on start day, receiving a dinner voucher, and Enrico Calvi of Dufour 34E Duffy (ITA) winning the Nick Thomas trophy for first skipper aged over 65 – finishing in 18 days 8 hours on corrected time. Joff Hutchinson on Carrick (GBR), aged 89, received a huge standing ovation on the night as the oldest participant.

ARC 2023 Fleet anchor at IGY Rodne4y Bay Marina
ARC 2023 Fleet anchor at IGY Rodne4y Bay Marina

Millie Webb sailing Penny Oyster (GBR) was first female skipper on corrected time in the Cruising Division, and 24-year-old Otto Leteval Forsgren on Faros (HRV) was the youngest skipper.

Steve and Teen on Audacious Duo (AUS) were recognised with Kaprys Award for their determination to make the start line following orca damage to their rudders off Portugal on route to Las Palmas.

The Philip Hitchcock Award for Safety was presented to the skipper and crew of Rubin (DEU) for their thorough and thoughtful approach to safety, and the crew of catamaran White Lotus (HRV) won a case of beer for landing this year’s biggest fish, a 60kg yellowfin tuna!

Sailing Awards

As well as recognising the traditional first, second and third in each class, there were also prizes for the seventh and tenth boats too. Overall line honours (no motoring) was won by Berenice Cube (GBR) and for multihulls by Marsaudon ORC50 Calamity (VGB).

Overall winner of the Cruising Division, receiving the Jimmy Cornell Trophy, was Vitorio Morbidelli of Beneteau First 435 Algol (ITA). Winner of the IRC Racing Division was Elan 450 Emily of Cowes (GBR) and overall winner of the Multihull Division was Marsaudon ORC 50 Ti Ana (FRA).

Class winners in Division 1 Cruising were: Class A – Amel 55 Kincsem (USA); Class B – Oyster 565 Larimar (EST); Class C – X-Yachts X4.6 Ipanema (NLD); Class D – Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 52.5 Mizar III (ITA); Class E – Beneteau First 435 Algol (ITA). Class winners in division IV Multihulls were: Class A – Ti Ana (FRA); Class B – Privilege 37 Tanoa (DEU), the smallest multihull in ARC 2023.

Spirit of the ARC

Voted for by both ARC participants and the World Cruising Club ‘Yellow Shirts’, the 2023 Spirit of the ARC Award was unanimously won by Wolfgang and Petra Hass of yacht Gian (MLT). Having sailed their Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 54DS in two previous ARCs, Wolfgang and Petra knew how to offer advice, encouragement and support to their fellow sailors, and became affectionately known as the ‘Grandparents of the fleet’ for their happy hosting of all the young sailors.

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