ARC: 12 Nacira 69 takes honours in Saint Lucia

At 03:16:45 local time on Friday, the Italian flagged 12 Nacira 69 crossed the finish line off Rodney Bay Saint Lucia as the first arrival of ARC 2021, claiming the coveted award of line honours and kick-starting the celebrations after an exciting Atlantic Crossing.

The crew of nine sailors were ecstatic to make landfall. The past few days have seen a thrilling race to the line with their closest rivals on Guyader Saveol, and the crew of the stunning Vismara carbon racer received the warmest of welcomes to Saint Lucia despite the early hour.

Calm winds at the start of the rally, which departed from Las Palmas on Sunday 21 November, were not on the wish list for this sleek 23 metre monohull, but as the trade winds finally picked up, they made good time during the second half of their 3,188 NM route reaching up to incredible speeds of 28 knots.

Spokesperson for the crew, Matteo Grassi said, “Most of the crew have experienced the crossing before but we didn’t expect to get so much wind in the last few days and we did almost 400 NM in one day, the boat is just a missile.”

Skippered by Federico Dosso,12 Nacira 69 is owned by Diego Paternò Castello di San Giuliano and Federico Marchi. The crew includes Italian Mini-Transat sailor Ambrogio Beccaria, who was designated navigator during the crossing and was praised by his fellow crew mates for making the right call to take a southerly route skirting the Cape Verdes.

“We didn’t make the decision until the morning of the start and felt the northern route looked uncomfortable and too unstable. We felt we could push the boat more in the steady trade winds.”

In jovial spirits and delighted to set foot onto the pontoon in IGY Rodney Bay Marina, the nine crew from Italy, France and the USA, were met by the ARC welcoming team who took their lines and in traditional fashion, provided a basket of local fruits, goodies from Saint Lucia and the all-important celebratory rum punch.

12 Nacira 69 crosses the finish line off Rodney Bay – Tim Wright pic – ARC

Close on their heels, and in fact in the lead during the latter part of the crossing, the French flagged Marsaudon TS5, Guyader Saveol crossed the line just 1.5 hours after 12 Nacira 69.

In the past two editions of the ARC, it has been the mighty quick multihulls that have reached Rodney Bay first. In 2019 Gwenaël Chapalain and the Guyader crew took line honours.

Despite a quick sail for the TS5 again this year, it could not hold off the final charge of 12 Nacira 69, built on a new generation hull derived from the Imoca 60. As Guyader Saveol crossed the finish line at 04:42:09 local time, Gwenaël thanked everyone for the organisation.

Approximately 140 yachts, sailing on the traditional ARC route, are set to receive a magnificent welcome, and 800 sailors will come ashore to enjoy the island paradise.

Compliant with local protocols, the ARC program has been adapted to include virtual events and limited gatherings facilitated by World Cruising Club, Events St Lucia and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.

Following negative PCR tests prior to departure, all arrivals complete the necessary screening with Port Health upon reaching Rodney Bay and can then find their ‘land legs’ exploring the island.

ARC 2021 will conclude with the final Prizegiving Ceremony in two weeks’ time on Friday 17 December, but in the meantime, there’s plenty more excitement and celebrations to come in simply beautiful Saint Lucia.

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