Consistent sailing is the key to a fast Atlantic passage and this is just what the front runners in the ARC 2009 RORC Racing Divisions have been doing since leaving Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 22 November. The racing crew's hard work has seen average daily runs over 260 nautical miles on the larger yachts, and now three boats are joined in a push for the finish line, with the potential of a new ARC record a tantalising prospect for the first boat home.
The lead boats need to arrive before 18:12:30 UTC on 03 December to beat the existing record of 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds set by Rinaldo Del Bono's maxi Capricorno in ARC 2006. Heading the pack is Swan 70 Stay Calm (Tim Hyder, UK) with 833nm to run, closely followed by the Wally 80 Bagheera (Kemal Cingilliogle, Turkey) with 840nm remaining, and just a little further behind is the Russian crewed Volvo 60 Big One , with 864nm to go.
All the yachts in the ARC RORC Racing Divisions are being tracked by Yellowbrick Iridium trackers, giving accurate positions every two hours. Predicted arrival times based on the latest VMG for the lead boats, give Bagheera the lead by a panther's whisker from Stay Calm , though these positions could easily change before they reach the line in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. Both yachts are in contention for the course record, with Big One also still a possibility for the honour.
Predicted winds for the next few days show ENE/E 13-18 with occasional gusts up to 25 knots; perhaps not as strong as the ocean going racers would like, but is it enough to get them to the line ahead of the course record? We will see….
Auliana II recovered
In other ARC news, the yacht Auliana II has now been salvaged and towed to the Canary Islands. The salvage crew were able to locate the yacht, which had been abandoned on 24 November following rudder failure, via the Yellowbrick Iridium Tracker. After boarding the yacht, the crew affected repairs and pumped out water, before fitted a jury rudder and setting course northwards.