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29 November 2001, 11:01 am
Roller-Coaster Ride Across The Atlantic
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The start. Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

Atlantic Rally For Cruisers

As the ARC fleet presses on into the Atlantic, the rolling ocean swells and strong winds are causing a few problems with broken gear and seasickness. However with high boat speeds and sunshine, most of the fleet are having a great start.
John Burfitt, skipper of Challenge Business yacht CGU reports that crew morale is high and all aboard are acclimatising quickly to life at sea. "Only one crew member has been affected with seasickness from the corkscrew motion as we spiral up and over the big waves. The rest have been on deck enjoying the big blue sea." said John today. He continued "This afternoon we had a large pod of about 40 dolphins race towards us and stop for a play in our bow wave. Always an amazing sight!"

In the giant roller coaster that is the Atlantic, everyone aboard CGU has been enjoying the ride and improving their helming skills. John comments "A 40 ton boat has quite a different feel to the light weight smaller yachts most crew are used to, though the concepts are all the same and everyone is learning quickly."

Heavy-weight spinnakers and reefed sails are the order of the day, as in the big seas and brisk winds, breaking sails and gear is a very real concern. Prudent skippers are now taking measures to avoid breakages, which would otherwise slow them down. Aboard GUC, skipper John has already had the crew switch several times to the smaller, stronger yankee headsail, rather than risk a tear in the spinnaker. Catana 431 Cakrawalla is following the same path and running under reefed mainsail, to make life aboard more comfortable. Tom Reese reports having to slow Carkawalla down to 8 knots so that the crew could have a peaceful evening meal and a decent rest, after the excitement of the first days. An action which will have been repeated through the fleet.

The crew of British Prima 38 Talisman averted disaster today when they spotted and repaired damage to their forestay. Vigilance at sea pays handsome dividends as Lucy Schiel on the catamaran Star Chaser found yesterday when they spotted cracks forming on one of the hulls. However, a full inspection in daylight has satisfied Lucy that the cracks are just cosmetic, and will not prevent them from continuing on to St.Lucia.

In other news, Jus Do It and Shamou have both rejoined the ARC after diverting into Puerto Mogan on the south of Gran Canaria for repairs following the start on Sunday. However, Wantok, Madame Arthur, and Pearl Seeker remain in Las Palmas. Late arrival The Sound of Silence, were hoping to leave today or on Wednesday, having had rudder damage en route to the Canary Islands.

ARC Weather forecasters Weather Consultancy Services are predicting that NE or ENE winds will stay at around 20 knots at least until Thursday, a bonus from Hurricane Olga, some 1500 miles north of the ARC fleet. Winds are expected to ease as the yachts get closer to the Caribbean, not doubt this will be a relief for some.

ARC Press/News Editor
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