On Sunday evening, 125 crew members from the 32 ARC Europe/USA boats in St. Georges assembled at the Dinghy Club to enjoy an evening of celebrations marking the end of the first stage of their Atlantic crossing.
The evening began with Gosling’s Rum Brand Director Andrew Holmes welcoming participants and guiding them through tasting samples of rum and sharing the story of their brand’s historical production on Bermuda. Back in 1806, James Gosling, the oldest son of a British wine and spirits merchant sailed to the new world to start new ventures. They chartered a schooner for 90 days when Mid-Atlantic, battling storms and pirates, the charter ran out. ‘You’ve got two options,’ said the skipper. ‘We sail back to London, or I drop you at the nearest British port.’ Determined to make his father proud, the ship pulled into St. Georges Harbour and landed with over £10,000. To the few thousand inhabitants of Bermuda at that time – who’d been without any sort of libation – it was like the second coming of Christ! Two hundred years later, the Gosling’s brand lives on and is known for its Black Seal Rum, the main ingredient in the famed Dark & Stormy drink (Black Seal and ginger beer), and popular now with sailors the world over.
Participants got the chance to taste the classic Black Seal rum, the amber Gold Rum, and the rare and expensive Family Reserve 20-year aged rum. And, of course, the sailors got the opportunity to purchase duty-free rum, which will be available to collect after check out ahead of Wednesday’s departure for Horta.
With the crews all warmed up thanks to Gosling’s, Brenda and her team at the St. Georges Dinghy and Sports Club laid on a delicious fish fry dinner ahead of the Prizegiving awards for the first leg of their Atlantic crossing. Once empty plates were cleared and dessert served (scrumptious apple and lemon cake), Mark Burton and Cecilie Hammersland took to the stage to present the prizes.
As well as the competitive prizes awarded for the top boats in each of the classes, prizes were also given out to participants who contributed to the first leg in other ways. This year awards were given for Best Log by Attitude
, Best Pirate Costumes for Vela
, the new ‘Flag’ award to Orion for being first to hoist their dress flags in Nanny Cay.
For standing by Amanda
and giving the beleaguered Dufour badly needed spare parts so she could get under sail again, Amari
, a Hylas 46 and her crew were awarded for their true Rally spirit.
Moving on to boats from the Nanny Cay start, the Multihull Division was won by the catamaran, Limitless with 2nd place going to Maria Concordia. In Class B (the smaller yachts), Elan 434, Karma Daze took 3rd, Venture, an Oyster 53, placed 2nd and class victory went to Kim, Anne and Sarah on Oyster 45, Vela with a corrected time of 6 days, 16 hours and 15 minutes. In Class A (the larger yachts), the US boat Madrigal took 3rd, and Oyster 56, Sea Flute came second on corrected time.
The yacht in first place on corrected time for Class A is awarded the Brian Oatley Trophy each year. Brian, a Bermudian and former Commodore here at the club for many years was a great sailor and racer himself. He was known for being out in his boat to welcome all the race boats to Bermuda and was a big supporter of ARC Europe’s visits since they began 30 years ago. Sadly Brian passed away in 2013, and is sorely missed at the Club. Brian’s wife, Susan, came to the front and presented the perpetual trophy to Dian and his Bulgarian crew on their Beneteau Oceanis 58, aptly named Oceanis
, bringing the evening’s ceremony to a close.
With possible gale force winds coming out of the SSW forecast for tonight and Tuesday, Monday morning has been busy releasing the boats at the Dinghy Club dock to anchorage in St George’s Harbour. Two of the ARC USA boats, Madrigal
and Passion Place
, decided to leave this morning, preferring to move out sooner rather than later. The good news is that the winds are forecast to drop for the start of leg 2 on Wednesday!
The Skipper’s Briefing is set for tomorrow evening, and we’re looking good for an on-time start at 1100 hrs local time on Wednesday!