Every year, there are always several participants or boats themselves that have taken part in the ARC rally throughout its 30 year history, and this year is no exception. There are of course many wonderful stories within the fleet and these include a new wave of sailors coming through to relive old memories and adventures.
One heart-warming story is that of two Polish daughters returning 30 years later in the same boat that their father built for the 1987 ARC, which went from Gran Canaria to Barbados. Back then, it was virtually impossible for Polish sailors to own a boat and to think about taking it across the Atlantic, but Nikodem Janiski made this a reality at a time when it was almost unheard of. He went on to receive the Kaprys Trophy for making the greatest effort in the face of adversity; building and getting the boat to the ARC from Poland.
His daughters, Elisa and Joanna Jasinska were bequeathed the vintage Cetus 136c after their father sadly passed away. The boat was in a bad state, but they have spent the last few years restoring her to her former glory. 35-year old Elisa will be skippering the boat on her very first Atlantic crossing, along with her boyfriend (who is an experienced skipper) and two other friends: “We wanted to get Mateńka seaworthy again in memory of my Dad,” explains Elisa. “We decided we need a goal to keep the motivation going and came up with the idea of joining the ARC to mark the 30th anniversary of my Dad’s crossing. I had sailed with my Dad in the Med as Mateńka spent over 20 years there and he was living on it. I was surprised how much I remembered about sailing I must admit.”
“I was very young when I sailed on the boat originally, but we have learnt so much since we started restoring the boat six years ago. We have replaced the deck, the hydraulics and all the electrics on board, but inside the boat still maintains its original fittings. We have many photos of my father and Grandma around and, in fact, Mateńka means Mother in Polish! We still have all the log books they used 30 years ago and the same spinnaker. We intend to hoist it during this ARC crossing, but are pretty sure it will break, so we have a second one on board, just in case. It seems proper that we use it one last time and that it is during the crossing.” Follow their adventures on their website pages: www.Matenka.eu/atlantic
The last time 22-year old Toby Hellard-Timm from London crossed with the ARC he was just 11 years old and sailing with his parents and sister in the 2006 ARC. This year he has returned as skipper of his father’s Oyster 53, Nutcracker
and will be totting up the miles to complete his Yachtmaster Ocean certificate. He first went onto a boat when he was two weeks old and is passionate about sailing.
“In 2006 my parents took my sister and I out of school so that we could cruise across the Atlantic and sail the whole Caribbean circuit before going up to New York. As I got older I thought I’d really love to cross again, but wanted to play a larger part in it. I spoke to my Dad and then he told me that he’d signed us up for this year’s ARC - with me as skipper! So, he took me across, when I was young, and now I will be taking him across!” says 22-year old Toby proudly. This photo shows the Nutcracker crew back in 2006.
“I’m really excited to be skippering Nutcracker in the ARC and I am looking forward to the challenge as well as a completely different change of pace. The crossing is something that I hope to do again, but I am not sure I will, so I will make the most of it. It’s so unique when you are out there on the ocean, particularly when you are on watch at night. I can’t wait,” explains Toby who is hoping to become a commercial pilot.