Inspired by his motto, ‘Never sleep. Life is too short. Push to the limit’, Andrea Neri and the all-Italian crew on Nessun Dorma (ITA) completed their very first transatlantic in style, achieving line honours in the 2023 ARC+ cruising rally on their Italia Yachts 15.98, aptly named after Puccini’s famous aria from Turandot.
Nessun Dorma crossed the finish line on Wednesday 29 November at 07:01:49 UTC (03:01 local time) at Quarantine Point, Grenada, after 2,334 nautical miles of ocean sailing from Mindelo, Cape Verde. Hand steering and pushing all the way, the crew were tired but elated to be welcomed on the dock at Port Louis Marina by the World Cruising Club team. Rum punches and congratulations were in order!
“I’m the first one!” smiled Andrea Neri as he stepped ashore after 11 days at sea, adding, “We had a lot of wind some of the time and as we broke a gennaker, so we hand steered all the way to Grenada, which was hard-going and tiring, but we are very, very happy. We are pleased to arrive first and very happy to participate in the ARC+ and to arrive here on this beautiful island”.
After boisterous conditions on the first ARC+ leg from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Cape Verde, the rally’s second leg to the Caribbean was a tactical and navigational battle for the best breeze. Nessun Dorma set an early lead, and despite a strong challenge from a handful of multihulls led by Marsaudon ORC50 Mongoose (USA) and Outremer 55.2 XII Treize (FRA), Andrea Neri’s team worked hard to maintain their advantage.
The next arrivals into St George’s Grenada are expected from noon UTC today. First multihull should be Marsaudon ORC50 Mongoose (USA) skippered by Christopher Murray, followed by Outremer 55- 2 XIII Treize (FRA) and sistership Fenix (FRA), then Outremer 51s Spirit (AUS) and Maracujar (FRA).
The bulk of the fleet are expected into Port Louis Marina 2-3 December.
The ARC+ 2023 fleet have enjoyed near-perfect trade wind conditions with sunshine, blue seas and moderate to gentle winds. Away from the front of the pack, the traditional ocean sailing activities of bread baking, fishing, wildlife spotting and spinning yarns have been supported by both a SSB net, and for the first time, a WhatsApp group for the third of boats in the fleet sporting Starlink.
Every ARC+ boat is fitted with the latest YB trackers, so you can follow the fleet on the YB Races app or on the Fleet Viewer on the rally website worldcruising.com/arc_plus.