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The Right Side of Halfway

The leading boats in the ARC+ fleet are within days of the finish line in Grenada. If the wind holds, ten boats should be crossing the line and heading into Port Louis Marina on Wednesday and Thursday, with the bulk of the fleet arriving between 3 and 5 December.

Italia Yachts 15.98 Nessun Dorma is leading the fleet, powering along at an impressive 9 knots or more in a Force 4-5 easterly. Close on her heels are the catamarans – Marsaudon ORC50 Mongoose, followed by the Outremers Fenix, Maracujar, XIII Treize, Spirit, Manta Jo and Nuvem Magica. Can Nessun Dorma hold onto her leads, or will one of the catamarans overtake her? Exciting stuff!

All boats have now either passed the half way mark, or will do so in the next day. Even the modest family cruising boats are making a good 120+NM a day, and as they reel down the pencil lines on their chart towards Grenada they are thinking of the miles yet to sail, and anticipating landfall.

The Connected Ocean

This is a big ocean, and even boats heading for the same destination can feel very alone at sea. This year the winds and mix of boats in the fleet means that many have been sailing within sight of one another – blips on the AIS turning into fellow ARC-ers. The camaraderie within the fleet is supported by the SSB net and a WhatsApp group – something unthinkable before the modern generation of satellite comms like Starlink.

Peter on Sturdee notes in the log: “Thanks to the newer generation of satellite systems (like Starlink), we are chatting away on whatsapp and telegram with routing info, position reports, fishing tips, jokes, and enhancing safety for all. Pictures of the kids having Thanksgiving or doing homework. Videos of issues on boats, screens of data… I love this… This will go down in the history books as the first flotilla crossing while chatting on WhatsApp! Sailing will never be the same again…”

Despite the proximity of the boats and ability (for some) to chat online, life at sea continues much as it always has – steering, trimming sails, mending things, checking for chafe, watching the weather, navigating, cleaning, tidying and cooking. Playing cards, telling tall tales and singing songs. Thrilling at the dolphins and spotting whales and turtles, avoiding rafts of weed and trying to catch a tuna or mahi mahi.

Photo from Manaia of some of the dolphins that have been playing around the yacht.

Follow our Instagram @arc_rally for some amazing footage shared from the boats. Maracujar accelerating along like a powerboat is seriously impressive – she’s hit over 20 knots of boat speed under sail.

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