At 00:52:47 on Friday 6th December, Rodney Bay welcomed the first arrival of ARC 2019, French flagged Marsaudon TS5 Hallucine. Led by experienced ocean sailor Régis Guillemot, the crew of 50ft multihull have had a great blast across the Atlantic, clocking up a record day of 385nm, an average speed of 15.2knts, and sailing under main and asymmetric the whole way. The winning formula was a combination of strategy, filet mignon and a competitive crew, aiming to beat one another’s helm speeds as they zoomed across the ocean!
The crew, Régis Guillemot, his wife Veronique Le Gall, Yves Pellisson and Pierre Louis Delarue were jubilant to reach Saint Lucia in an elapsed time of 11 days, 16 hours, 52 minutes and 47 seconds and sailed tactically south to pick up the trades. “It has been a truly great sail; at the start, the wind was not too strong but the boat performed amazingly and we had no breakages or failures for the whole trip. Our tactic was to head very south, passing the Cape Verde islands close enough to see the crabs on shore, and once we found the trades we really took off. These winds carried us all the way to the finish line, we trimmed the sails but no changes to the set up for over 3000nm. We have had a great battle with fellow multihull Allegra who sadly retired at the last moment, but to beat the racing boats is a really proud achievement for us.”
Hallucine was built in Lorient at by the Marsaudon yard and Régis completed an Atlantic circuit with her in 2018. “We know it is a fast cruising boat, but not built as a racer. The four crew on board have been perfect to handle her to be as light and fast as she could be.” This year, they joined the ARC for the first time, “For the fun, the competition and the camaraderie – we have not been disappointed and the organisation has been superb.”
Following some time to sleep and time tidy the boat, the crew were officially welcomed to Saint Lucia by Beverly Nicholson-Doty CEO of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Depa Gidharry Senior Tourism Officer from the Ministry of Tourism, IGY Marina Manager Sean Deveaux, and representatives from the Events Company of Saint Lucia. With the steel pan soundtrack and obligatory rum punch, it was a special moment as 2019 marks the 30th year of the ARC arriving to Rodney Bay and remarks of welcome from supporters of the ARC were made to a crowd of gathered media.
The French crew have all lived on the neighbouring island of Martinique, so arriving to see the familiar silhouette of Pigeon Island was a welcome sight. “We are from the islands so it is wonderful to arrive somewhere we feel like home. We are delighted to be here in Saint Lucia and are looking forward to enjoy the time on shore here.
Despite the dual with Allegra who retired, the next ARC arrival to follow in Hallucine was Sisi, a Volvo 65 and part of the Austrian Ocean Racing Project. The first monohull and leaders of the ARC Racing fleet, they crossed the line just under 10 hours behind Hallucine, and the crew were eager to welcome them and compare notes from their very different ocean crossing experiences! As an out and out race boat,life has been basic on board Sisi, with little luxury compared to the Marsaudon TS5. It's been freeze dried food rather than filet mignon for the Austrians!
Check out the video from their crossing, from Yachting World Magazine
Following the first arrivals from the ARC fleet, roughly a third of the yachts from ARC+ are left to arrive as their shoreside programme gets underway. ARC+ crews have particularly enjoyed seeing one another again and it was evident from the buzz at last night’s beach BBQ at Spinnakers Beach Bar and Grill that plenty of firm friendships have been formed within the fleet. Almost 200 sailors have now reached Rodney Bay and are chilling out and enjoying a little Caribbean sunshine (interspersed with the occasional warm tropical rain squall). The ARC+ programme continues over the weekend with an official Welcome Party at the Harbour Club Hotel on Saturday evening, a Caribbean style sundowner at Buzz in Reduit Beach and the ARC+ Prizegiving on 12 December in IGY Rodney Bay May Marina.