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Marking milestones with celebrations at sea

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with feasts and football, and Christmas shoppers hunt down Black Friday discount deals, the crews of ARC 2016 are each having their own cause for celebration and joy on board their yachts out in the Atlantic Ocean. For some it’s hitting the latest milestone towards Saint Lucia, others it’s a landing a prized fish with the promise of sumptuous sushi for dinner.

“At 1618, in whatever time zone we're currently in, we passed the 1000 nautical miles sailed mark!!!” writes Conor in his latest blog from on board ARC+ yacht Endeavour of Cork. “I have a few milestones in my head, and that's the first one of them. Next will be the notional halfway mark, 1045nm. Then will be the point at which the distance to go is less than the distance sailed (we get emailed fleet positions and info every morning, and this includes distance to go). Only at that point will I really accept that we're on the homeward stretch!”

Such celebrations break up the simple routines on board of “eat, watch, sleep”. Marking milestones, however trivial they may seem to those home, are a highlight of each crews’ three week crossing. “We are now halfway to the halfway point”, Vicky on White Satin gleefully announced as they are four days into their passage with the ARC. “We have been treated to a visit from a large pod of dolphins - several dozen - who diverted to swim and leap around the boat for 5 minutes before continuing on their way, a lovely sight."

Yesterday also saw the celebration of Lucia’s 19th birthday on board catamaran NDS Darwin – 50 crew members are will be blowing out candles at sea this year on the ARC – and many more will be marking anniversaries and other occasions together whilst underway.

The diversity of this year’s ARC fleet really becomes apparent when looking towards the front-runners in the Racing Division, in contrast to the comfortable cruising boats with friends and family crews. Their focus is to reach Saint Lucia and celebrate once ashore! George David’s Rambler 88, and the dueling Volvo 70’s Trifork and Sanya have made relatively light work of smashing their way to the half-way point so far. With continuous speeds of over 10knts, they are set to reach Rodney Bay early next week and will be sipping rum punch ahead of many of the ARC+ fleet. Rambler 88, Trifork or Sanya must cross the finish line by 16:24:30 local time on Monday 28 November to claim the course record from last year’s victors,Team Brunel.

Help on hand

One of the big advantages of sailing as part of a rally as large as the ARC is the opportunity to call on assistance from fellow yachts taking part, and their unbridled willingness to help out if they can. Here’s the story from Dorothea and the crew of Hanse 415 Somnium, helping out double-handed sailors Roland and Angela on board Scallywag.  

Scallywag was close by and radioed us this morning. We had a nice chat, exchanged experiences and impressions of the last days and talked about the weather. Additionally they told us that unfortunately their Gennaker halyard ripped and they couldn't fix it yet, as it was quite difficult with just two people on the boat of their size. So our crew on Somnium offered to help.

The crew of Scallywag liked the idea, so the two boats came together in the middle of the Ocean with nothing around. When we have been close together, Sven and Mart swam over to Scallywag to help them fix the problem. Angela and Roland prepared the whole reparation really well, so after some explanation of the Skipper we as a team have been able to climb up to the very top of the 25 m high mast, put a new Gennaker halyard through the mast with the line of the boom lift and solve the problem.

After some refreshing drinks and a really nice talk Sven and Mart swam back to our boat. In addition, Angela and Roland gave us two twenty litre jerry cans of fuel, which meant a lot to us, as we do have more flexibility now, if there will be no wind for more days. Thank you

All together it was a really great happening! We have been really happy to help and meet nice people in the vast emptiness of the Ocean. We are still close by and it was a great atmosphere to see them sailing their Gennaker at sunset :)”

Blogs from the ARC boats are full of wonderful stories like this of life out in the ocean. Click here to see the latest blogs

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