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New boats – new adventures

Of the 190+ boats taking part in the ARC this year, around 20 in the fleet are new-builds, produced in 2019. They include nine multihulls such as Johnathan Davis’ American 12.19m Bali 4.1, View Finder, Pierre and Lisa Caouette’s 18.28m French Canadian Outremer 5X, BioTrek, and previous WCC rally and World ARC participants, Stuart and Pat Smith’s Fountaine Pajot Saona 47, BriZo who are continuing their blue water cruising adventures, this time with a catamaran.

One of the largest new boats sailing across in the 34th ARC is Jean-Phillipe Steele’s luxury 25.15m Oyster 825, iSNL, and one of the smaller is Max Haot and Francois de Poorte’s racy Finot-Conq-designed Pogo 12.50 named Tilt. This pocket-rocket, taking part in the ARC Racing division, is capable of reaching speeds of 25+ knots, so is looking forward to a fast passage to Saint Lucia.

The launch of Volker and Annemarie Auer-Frank’s new CNB 66, Escape took place earlier this year in Bordeaux and was celebrated along with family, friends and the design team at CNB after a three-year long build project. “We celebrated the baptism of our ‘escape’,” said Annemarie. “The boat is beautiful and all that we imagined. For us, this is the start of a completely different life. The next few months and years will be very exciting.” Keep up with their adventures via their blog:

The Guite family on Y-Knot I also set off on their brand new Hanse 588 after many months of preparation. Jean-Francois and his wife Caroline, along with their three children, Nathan, Antoine, Laurence, plus their dog, will spend at least 14 months cruising after the ARC.

Having first sailed back in 2011 on ARC Portugal, then joining World ARC in 2014-15 with their previous boat, a Discovery 55, Stuart and Pat Smith are looking forward to continuing their blue water sailing adventures on their brand new Fountaine Pajot Saona 47,

BriZo. “This is a challenge of a lifetime, a lifetime in the making. We're about to embark on a new adventure on a new boat,” says Stuart on their yacht blog: They both enjoy the freedom that sailing gives them away from normal life. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do" is one of their mantras!

Pierre Caouette and wife Lisa McKerracher-Caouette, from Montreal, Canada have sailed their new Outremer 5X multihull, BioTrek from the South of France to prepare for the start of the ARC in Las Palmas. Pierre is pilot, past-Olympic sailor, entrepreneur and electrical & mechanical engineer, and Lisa a scientist and serial entrepreneur who has dedicated her career to developing drugs to treat serious neurological conditions. Together they will sail around the world for the second time after doing so in their 47ft catamaran 14 years go. “BioTrek sailing embraces biology and our natural environment while ocean trekking,” say the dynamic duo who met through their love of the sport. On board is their much-loved 11 month old mascot Labradoodle Tiller, and for the Atlantic crossing they will be joined by two friends, plus a young crew from Outremer, who will be there for the experience.

“When we decided to look for a new boat we knew we wanted a catamaran that had daggerboards for both the shallow draft and downwind ease and safety, as well as for upwind sailing and being able to point higher,” says Pierre who has already crossed the Atlantic several times, including back in 1992 with WCC’s America 500 rally. He and Lisa will still do a little work virtually whilst continuing to cruise, before returning home after a year in the Caribbean before continuing their round the world adventure. Their comfortable and high performance Outremer 60ft multihull is primarily set up for shorthanded sailing, with many great features and new additions instigated in the design process by Pierre in order to ensure ease of handling and safety for the doublehanders. “For me it’s like flying. The least amount of time you spend on the water or in the air, the safer you are. I’d rather get there fast.”

Engineer Luke Adamson, his girlfriend, and a group of friends, including Ross Turner who works for a company that imports Hanse yachts into Australia, will be sailing his six month old Hanse 458, Lucid on their first Atlantic crossing. It was Ross who introduced Luke to sailing and he went on to enjoy the racing scene back in Melbourne and Sydney. The young team are looking forward to being part of the ARC as it’s their first big ocean crossing.

“We always had a dream of doing this trip and taking a boat from Europe to Australia, so with our contacts and our keenness together, it all started falling into place. Hanse has a great reputation for strong, fast production boats which are great for ocean cruising. Lucid really does move - I’ve been amazed by it. I’m used to planing hulls on race boats and I just thought we’d be sitting bogged in waves, but it really does get up and go. Ross knows the boat like the back of his hand as he is the Commissioning Manager for Hanse, which is great.” After the ARC, they will sail through the Panama Canal and then on to Melbourne where the boat will be sold before the couple go on to buy a house together.