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ARC 2023 drew to a close on Saturday night with an awards ceremony in Saint Lucia that celebrated all the unique elements that make this rally so popular – great sailing, wildlife, fishing, photography, families, fun and friendship.
Over 500 sailors gathered in Beausejour for a ceremony filled with laughter and happy emotion.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, The Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, Dr Ernest Hilaire, identified the special nature of the ARC and ARC sailors when he said to cheers and applause: “I have such admiration for you, I could never do what you do, I know that. You are a unique breed of human beings. And I’ll tell you another unique thing about ARC ceremonies – I am always amazed at the sheer joy when you are called on for your prizes. If I had crossed the Atlantic for so many days, who cares about the prizes you know! But as I said, you are unique.”
155 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 Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia.
151 finished in time to join the awards ceremony, with the last boat, Graptolite (DEU), expected into Saint Lucia early on Monday morning. There were three retirements.
Characterised by a light wind start and moderate tradewind conditions, 2023 has been a transat to remember for the 930 crews from baby Emmett on Sulyna (GBR) to the ARC’s oldest sailor, 89-year-old Joff Hutchinson on Carrick (GBR).
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: More Than Sailing
The ARC is about more than the fastest, 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 and the finish line VHF, providing both the social glue for the rally and an important safety feature.
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.
Millie Webb sailing Penny Oyster (GBR) was first female skipper on corrected time in the Cruising Division, and 24-year-old Otto Letteval Forsgren on Faros (HRV) was the youngest skipper.
Steve and Teen on Audacious Duo (AUS) were recognised with the Kaprys Award for their determination to make the start line following orca damage to their rudders off Portugal.
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.
Sharing the story of life at sea with family and friends is an important part of ocean sailing, and Tahira (GBR), Vitamin Sea (DEU) and Wolkenschlößchen (DEU) won prizes for their written and photographic blogs.
The crew of catamaran June (CAN) and young Jacques and Gisele from Uno (NZL) won best social media contributors.
The Eric Jean Trophy for humanity and environment was presented to the crew of Oyster 825 Champagne Hippy (GBR) for dropping their spinnaker and turning back to free two turtles trapped in an abandoned fishing net, and the Arch Marez Trophy was awarded to Salamander (GBR) for their continued contribution to shoreside activities.
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 Vittorio 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 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.
After the ARC
Twelve ARC yachts will be joining the 38-strong World ARC circumnavigation rally that departs from Saint Lucia on 13 January heading to the Panama before transiting the Panama Canal and on into the Pacific Ocean.
Another 30 yachts will be sailing back to Europe via Bermuda and the Azores with the ARC Europe rally departing St Maarten on 6 May.
SOURCE: World Cruising Club. Photo: Overall winner of the Cruising Division, receiving the Jimmy Cornell Trophy.