'Spindrift of Jersey,' and 'Handling Breakages at Sea, Part II'

'Cruinneag III' and Handling Breakages at Sea, from ARC 2011

ARC Village & the St. Lucia Hinterland

From a feature I wrote for the ARC website this afternoon:

The coconut vendors, of which there are plenty, admit that the tourists do not quite understand the attraction. “We sell most of the drinking coconuts to the locals,” said one particularly friendly vendor in Castries. “The tourists don’t even know what they’re missing.”

Check it out here.

Magnus Olsson sails on Triumph in ARC 2011

Christof Petter on Vaquita
Greetings everyone! I had the chance to chat with Magnus Olsson yesterday, the ex-skipper of Ericsson 3 in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race. He sailed aboard the Swedish-flagged Triumph with a group of others. I chatted with him on the dock yesterday while he and his wife mended Triumph's genoa.

Martin Maier on Vaquita
I also had the chance to meet and chat with Andreas Hanakamp, another Volvo sailor who skippered Team Russia in the last event. His story is unique in that he partners all of his sailing projects with good-for-the-world awareness programs. This year, with Vaquita, he is partnered with the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). Look for a more in-depth feature about those partnerships coming soon.

In the meantime, check out the feature I wrote on the ARC website about those guys and others.

Pre-dawn in St. Lucia

Nix crew were in a festive mood
despite the early hour.
"Cheers Nico!"

The crew of Nix, an X-612, was in a celebratory mood this morning. Mia and I went out to I-dock to greet them, only minutes after they had bested the bigger Swan 62 Acool Turabi across the finish line. It was close - only one and a half minutes separated the two boats - but Nix came out on top. 

From our post in the ARC office, we listened in on the radio to a rather humorous exchange between the two boats and the ARC finish line (which consists of a network of former participants who have volunteered for the job - this year there are seven boats who want to help, so the marina set up a permanent mooring on the south end of the line to make it easier for boats to swap watches. Each is responsible for a twenty-four hour shift). Acool Turabi evidently had a beter VHF onboard, and was communicating regularly with the finish line, while Mia and I listened in from the office. As they crossed and the finish line boat announced their arrival over the radio, Acool Turabi came back again - "we have not crossed the finish line yet!" The finish line crew had seen Nix cross the line first.

The welcome procedure is a nice one here. Along with Johnny, a local St. Lucian who is working the night shift for the Tourism Board, and his rum punch, Mia and I strolled out onto I-dock with handheld radios and Nick's new flashing LED light to guide Nix in. Acool Turabi elected to anchor out after nearly running aground before even attempting to enter the channel (they draw 13 feet...). Nix has done the ARC before, but set a personal best for the 2,800 mile course this year, which delighted skipper Nico and the rest of his crew, who were all dressed for the occasion in their clean white polos. They did not stay clean for long though once the champagne started flowing.

Click to see recent news from the ARC.

ARC 2011 Under Way

Rothmans Arrives in St Lucia
Phaedo Arrives early Friday morning.
Already a busy day in the ARC office. Four boats have arrived, and the Akalaria 40 Vaquita is due in sometime in the next few hours. Vaquita is only 40-feet long, but has the highest (read fastest) handicap in the entire event. Still, under 13 days across the Atlantic (2800 miles) is impressive.

Med Spirit earned line honors, crossing last night around 2330. With her 15-foot draft, she did not even attempt to enter the marina, and has already left for Martinique this morning. Rayon Vert, a trimaran, was a close second (and was actually overtaken by the bigger Maxi Med Spirit last night). 

Mia and I woke up around 0345 this morning in anticipation of Phaedo, the distinctive Gunboat 66, painted bright orange (and looking quite impressive at the head of I-dock). They arrived about 0500 into Rodney Bay marina, and were rather excited by Mia's presentation of rum punch and Heineken. Rothmans followed shortly thereafter. Rothmans is a 90+ foot Maxi, former Whitbread boat, with twenty crew onboard, a mix of old and very young Swedes. I think Mia enjoyed speaking with them - I enjoyed listening.

The local news crew was by this morning to interview some of the first arrivals. Phaedo's crew were very receptive, and gave a nice chat about their recent program. The boat has been across the Atlantic three times already this year, most notably winning the Newport - Uk Trans-Atlantic race by a slight margin over Maltese Falcon. Phaedo's photographer was actually responsible for the dramatic photos of Rambler 100 after she capsized in the Fastnet Race this past summer. She and her owner are based in St. Barth's for the winter.

Check out official photographer Tim Wright's (of photos of the boats crossing the line.