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30 November 2001, 12:19 pm
Trial by Jury Rig
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Atlantic Rally For Cruisers

The ARC yachts continue to have a superb sail across the Atlantic, thanks in part to Huricane Olga, which has generated excellent winds for the fleet.

However ARC weather forecasters WCS Marine Weather, report that Olga has now been down graded to a tropical storm and so its affects on the Atlantic weather are predicted to lessen.

A respite from the strong trade winds will be well received by the fleet, as a number of the yachts are busy sewing sails back together or fixing broken gear. The Heath-Robinson Award for inventiveness has so far gone to the crew of Sydney 41 El Sid who suffered a broken boom 24 hours out from Las Palmas.

Navigator Craig describes the incident: "Well, a very interesting 24 hours. We had been bombing along at 14-16 knots at times and then, like a piece of plastecine the boom folded itself in two in front of our very eyes. We got the mainsail down and retrieved both bits without incident, then sat down in the cockpit to discuss how we might fix it."

After sleeping the problem overnight, the crew set to work the next morning. Craig continues: "Next morning we were up and set the kite which got us off on the right track and not going too slowly. Today and yesterday we had to stop to fix steering problems, then again today (Thursday) we stopped for about 3.5 hrs to sort it out for good. Terry and Ian going into the "gimp-hole" for ages and making some very reassuring banging noises. We are back on course now, afraid that the race is probably over for us but morale is high. We are now surfing along under the most bizarre jury rig you have ever seen: twin No 3 headsails, one poled out and a trysail! However, our morale is at an all-time high and we all now understand the expression "necessity is the Mother of invention"!"

Meanwhile, Kate Gower sailing on Valhalla, a Swan 55, has been getting to grips with the daily radio net, still a vital part of the ARC, even in the age of mobile satellite telephones. Kate reports that life is good aboard Valhalla, and as the only lady amongst 6 chaps, she is Queen of the boat. "It's sunny and hot and 26 knots of wind and I couldn't be happier" said Kate today. In the hot sunshine the yacht's store of fruit is ripening quickly, so a fruit-eating contest is underway. As compensation, the daily happy hour was extended yesterday when the boat's clock was moved back one hour; the first of five time changes on route to St.Lucia.

Aboard the German Jongert, Lady Caribe, the continual seasickness of one crew member has forced them to divert to the Cape Verdes today. After calling into ARC control for some pilotage information, Lady Caribe is now heading to Porto Grande on Sao Vicente where they expect to arrive in about three days.

In other reports from the fleet, Damien Ward on the Sigma 38 Magic number says his crew have also been at work sewing their spinnaker. On Lady in Red, whilst they have no reported damage to date, Skipper Guy Shelkens, now on his third ARC crossing says "this year it's too cold to swim, but we are still fishing at 10knots plus!"

On board Iddle Spirit, an OVNI 36, the crew report that the fleet has mostly got its sea legs, as the Atlantic roller-coaster ride continues. For the crew, the daily radio contact with other ARC boats is the big event, supplemented by opening e-mails from home. Iddle Spirit's first entry in the fishing contest arrived at 1900 Wednesday when they landed a "an absolutely fantastic tuna" according to skipper Conor Wall. Co-skipper Alan Crockhard also told us "The ship's surgeons will be doing their part later today and an notification will be sent to all ARC boats which will read as follows; "FRESH ATLANTIC TUNA AT GIVE AWAY PRICE - BUYER MUST COLLECT!"

More news from the ARC, Klaus Armbruster was evacuated unwell from onboard Heaven Can Wait, and the yachts Spirit of Clyde and Candela assisted the French crewman onboard Sagitair when they got into difficulty:

ARC Radio Net assists in Medical Evacuation

Picture of transfer available at :

Crew member Klaus Armbruster, onboard the German yacht Heaven Can Wait, has had to be taken off the yacht due to a suspected kidney stone and colic. Klaus continued to be seasick and unwell from the start of the ARC last Sunday 25 November. A medico call to Germany diagnosed the illness as a probable kidney stone, and advised that getting off the yacht was the best thing to do at this stage of the Atlantic crossing.

ARC Yachts In Dramatic Atlantic Rescue

Late yesterday afternoon the ARC Communications Net once again proved its worth, when three ARC yachts were involved in the dramatic rescue of a French sailor from his sinking yacht. The British Beneteau 47.7 Jus'Do It picked up a distress call on VHF radio from a nearby non ARC yacht Sagitair, reporting with rudder problems. After contacting ARC control in Cowes, a fleet wide request for assistance was sent out over the ARC communications net, and the Falmouth MRCC contacted. ARC yachts Candela and Spirit of Clyde were closest to the distress vessel and diverted to assist.

Arriving at the location at 19:19hrs UTC with little time to spare, the French crewman was taken off Sagitair onto the Moody 38 Spirit of Clyde. Although the smaller yacht, Spirit of Clyde had fewer crew and was therefore better able to accommodate the unexpected guest, reported Bjorn Stahl, skipper of the Swedish yacht Candela, which provided communications assistance for the rescue.

It is believed that Sagitair had just one person onboard and all involved in the rescue are reported well. The distressed yacht has been abandoned and is expected to sink within the next few hours. Falmouth MRCC have issued a warning to shipping in the area, while both Spirit of Clyde and Candela are continuing onto St.Lucia.

Jeremy Wyatt/News Editor
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