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Conor Haughey of Malahide’s handsome Moody 54DS Hibernian swept into the finish of the ARC 2021 in Grenada this morning to chalk up a notable international success for Ireland. Hibernian - which sailed the longer ARC + course to take in a brief stopover in the Cape Verde Islands - is currently posted as first in the two main cruiser divisions and fourth overall in Mono-Hulls Line Honours, a remarkable achievement in this mega-fleet event.

Other recent placings of Irish boats still at sea include Nautilus (Lagoon 46 catamaran, Brian O’Sullivan, Tralee) 18th OA, Lir (Lagoon 450S, Brendan Cahill, Waterford) 33rd OA, 9th MultihullA, Ruth II (Oyster 625, 32nd OA in ARC Direct, 13th Cruisers A, Viente (Halberg Rassy 40, David Kelly, Waterford) 112th OA in LH, 7th Cruising E.

Race Tracker here 

Published in Cruising
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Grenada has welcomed the first arrival of ARC+ 2021 as Pierre De Saint-Vincent’s Outremer 51 Piment Rouge (FRA) claimed line honours in the second leg of the cruising rally from Mindelo, Cape Verde.

As Afloat reported yesterday, Malahide's Conor Haughey's Hibernian remains the top cruiser with an estimated finish time early tomorrow morning. 

The next Irish boat estimated to finish is Tralee Bay's Brian O'Sullivan and Francis Clifford's Navillus Lagoon catamaran currently lying in 19th overall and fifth multihull. 

The new French winning multihull, sailed by a crew of six, crossed the finish line off Quarantine Point, St George’s, Grenada at 23:10:23 local time on Wednesday 1st December, completing their transatlantic crossing after 12 days and 14 hours at sea. Arriving after 2,424nm of sailing, there were loud cheers from the crew and music blasting out from the comfortable deck of the catamaran to hail their arrival.

The crew were elated to be the first boat to finish and after crossing the line, made their way into the Carenage, the lively waterfront area which winds around the inner harbour, before being guided by Dock Master Joel into Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina where the ARC+ boats will be hosted over the next few days.

The ARC+ yellowshirts and Marina Manager Zara Tremlett were waiting for Piment Rouge on the dock to give a very warm Spice Island welcome and lines were made fast, the crew donned fun long black wigs and sunglasses for their night time arrival before spraying a bottle of French champagne to celebrate their victory! It has not been an easy run across the Atlantic with light airs haunting the rhumb line route requiring the navigators to sail further south than ever before in search of the tradewinds, but the adrenaline of making landfall and excitement of such a warm welcome provided a fitting end to their voyage.

“I’m feeling good. The ARC+ was a very good experience with a very good crew and there was a great atmosphere on board. We sailed all the time apart from about 4 hours using the engine. We went south and made at least 20 directional changes en route to Grenada from Cape Verde. The last two days were quite difficult, with a lot of rain, but we managed a 240nm run in the last 24 hours. I’ve only had the boat since July but I know now that Piment Rouge is a good boat," said Pierre De Saint-Vincent.

The Piment Rouge crew: Pierre De Saint-Vincent, Hervé Cardona, Catherine Ducret, Vincent Henry, Serge Milliard and Sylvie Servoles.

The first arrival is a special moment as it officially kicks off the ARC+ arrival programme in Grenada. Welcoming the ARC+ fleet for the first time, the Grenada Tourism Authority and staff of Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina have been diligently planning a programme of events compliant with COVID protocols and are dedicated to giving ARC+ sailors the warmest of welcomes to ‘pure Grenada’. A further 70 yachts will make landfall in the coming days and indeed there was not long to wait until the second arrival, Neel 47 BigBird (USA) crossed the line at 04:56:19 local time.

All the yachts are equipped with a YB Tracker, regularly updating their position to the online Fleet Viewer and YB Races app for friends and family to follow the fleet. Tales of fishing triumphs and tradewind sailing will also be sent to the World Cruising Club website, as participants share their ocean adventures.

Published in Cruising
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Conor Haughey of Malahide’s handsome silver-liveried Moody 54DS Hibernian is having a very good Transatlantic race with the ARC+ division of 70 boats, which has taken in the transoceanic hop in two stages with a stop in the Cape Verdes. Hibernian is now just over 300 miles from the finish in Grenada, and showing as first in the Cruisers (Monohull) Division, and fourth overall.

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The circumstances surrounding the death of a crew member on ARC yacht Agecanonix at the weekend are not yet known, according to rally organisers the World Cruising Club.

Late on Friday 26 November, a Mayday call was made from Agecanonix requesting a medical evacuation. Sadly, injured crew member Max Delannoy was declared dead before any outside help could be provided.

Agecanonix, an X-Yachts X4³, was sailing with a three-man, all-French crew as part of the ARC IRC Racing Division and had opted for a course well to the north of the rhumb line route to Saint Lucia, aiming to avoid the light winds affecting the southerly route close to Cape Verde.

MRCC France Gris-Nez were initially involved in controlling the incident, before passing over to MRCC Ponta Delgada in the Azores as the closest station to the Agecanonix.

At the request of MRCC, the cruise ship PV Mein Schiff 1 diverted to evacuate Philippe Anglade, who was also injured; Jean-Philippe Anglade; and the body of Max Delannoy.

PV Mein Schiff 1 arrived at the distress position as planned around 21:30 UTC on Saturday 27 November. Weather locally had easterly Force 8 winds with rough seas of four to five metres.

The larger vessel was positioned to create a lee for the rescue operation. After assessing the situation, the ship’s rescue boat was deployed and started approaching the Agecanonix.

During this time winds started gusting to more than 40 knots and Agecanonix started moving out of control, so the rescue operation had to be aborted. PV Mein Schiff 1 then remained in the vicinity waiting for the weather to improve and for daylight.

At around 14:00 UTC on Sunday 28th November, MRCC Ponta Delgada reported that the rescue operation was successfully completed, with both crew and the deceased safely on board, and PV Mein Schiff 1 had set course for Funchal in Madeira.

The Agecanonix has been abandoned at approximate position 29° 3.71 N, 026° 30.38 W and continues to be tracked by MRCC via the onboard YB tracker.

The World Cruising Club said: “Our thoughts are very much with the Anglade and Delannoy families during this sad and difficult time.

“World Cruising Club would also like to express their sincere gratitude to all the staff at the MRCC's involved in coordinating the incident, and in particular to the Captain, officers and crew of PV Mein Schiff 1.”

Five Irish boats are taking part in this year’s ARC and ARC+ transatlantic rally which set sail from the Canary Islands earlier this month, as previously reported on

Published in Cruising
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ARC+ 2021, World Cruising Club’s two-stage transatlantic rally to Grenada, set sail today from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with 70 boats spirited away by the tradewinds bound for Mindelo Marina in Cape Verde for the first leg. Years of planning, months of preparations, and days of checking off the jobs list has gone in ahead of today's departure, which saw crew from 24 different nationalities heading off to begin their Atlantic adventure.

Three Irish entries were among today's departures; two multihulls and a monohull yacht. 

Conor Haughey is the skipper of Hibernian, a Dublin-based Moody 54DS. Brendan Cahill set sail in Lir, a Lagoon 450 as did County Kerry's Brian O'Sullivan and Frances Clifford in the Lagoon 46 Navillus. 

Brian O'Sullivan and Frances Clifford's Lagoon 46 NavillusBrian O'Sullivan and Frances Clifford's Lagoon 46 Navillus

The rally began with a programme of pre-departure activities to ensure the boats and crews were suitably ready for departure. From the end of October, Las Palmas Marina has become a colourful sight with yachts dressed overall and rally flags flying. ARC+ has had a real family feel this year with 17 boats sailing with children on board and a total of 33 kids set to enjoy their first taste of Atlantic sailing on the rally.

Following COVID-secure protocols, organised activities for participants prior to departure have included a range of seminars, crew suppers and drinks events creating a great community spirit amongst the sailors. Rally organisers World Cruising Club have supported their preparations with one-to-one safety checks of boat equipment and smoothing their logistics, and the many marine businesses around the city have assisted with getting the boats ship shape for departure.

There was great excitement around the docks of Las Palmas marina as start day dawned and lines were slipped to head out to the starting area. “We are really looking forward to the departure. We deferred from last year’s rally so it seems like we’ve been waiting such a long time so we just can’t wait to get going!” said Derek Frame, British owner of the Wauquiez 47PS Delite, “It was a really good Skippers Briefing yesterday and we’ve had great advice and help from World Cruising Club, so I feel we are prepared and ready go now.”

Stephan Friedel, skipper of the German Catana 531 Rob Roy III says that he has enjoyed his time here but after four weeks in Gran Canaria it will be good to start. “We want to get going now and everyone is ready and wants to get into warmer tropical weather. It’s time to go now it’s a bit cooler here! My first Atlantic crossing was in 1998, but this will be my first rally and my first as skipper - a dream that I’ve had since I was a young boy, so I’m excited that finally it has come true!”

As forecast, the winds on start day provided a rock and roll departure with 15-20knts blowing steadily in the starting area from the North East and a significant swell running outside the shelter of the port. The countdown began from ARC+ Rally Control onboard ARC yacht Vahine (FIN) acting as committee vessel for the ARC+ starts. At 12:45, the multihulls were led away by the impressive Outremer 51 Piment Rouge (FRA) and Neel 47 Bigbird (USA) flying across the line close to the shore to the delight of the spectators strolling along the Avenida Marítima.

At 13:00 it was the turn of monohulls with the Cruising Division setting off on the 865nm passage to Mindelo. It was the Beneteau Oceanis 40, Sala from Norway sailed by the Christensen family under the watchful eye of their weather expert Mads Liestøl Christensen who were first to cross the line. The Irish Moody 54 DS Hibernian skippered by Conor Haughey was next and another Norwegian family boat, Albicilla, crossed in third place with a big cheer on board. The start was quite a sight as the fleet bounced through the ocean waves and bid farewell to the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

For their first night at sea, moderate trade winds are expected to whisk the fleet away from Gran Canaria before decreasing as the yachts get closer to the Cape Verde Islands in the coming days.

On arrival in Mindelo, there is an exciting programme for crews to explore ashore and the stopover has been extended to give crews more time to enjoy the islands. The first boats are expected from Friday 12 November and will receive a warm welcome from the teams of Marina Mindelo staff and World Cruising Club.

Following the stopover, ARC+ has a new Caribbean destination this year and the fleet will be sailing to Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina on the island of Grenada. The re-start from Mindelo will be on Friday 19 November.

All the yachts are equipped with a YB Tracker, regularly broadcasting their position to the online Fleet Viewer and YB Races app for friends and family to follow the fleet. Tales of fishing triumphs and tradewind sailing will also be sent to the World Cruising Club website, as participants share their ocean adventures.

There are three transatlantic departures from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria organised by World Cruising Club under the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers banner: ARC+ 2021, ARC 2021 and ARC January 2022.

Published in Cruising

A young woman with cerebral palsy has become the first person to cross the Atlantic by ‘sip and puff’ sailing.

Natasha Lambert — who three years ago sailed into Dun Laoghaire to complete a crossing of the Irish Sea by the same means — controls the helm and sails of her vessel with a straw.

As Yachting Monthly reports, Natasha’s father Gary designed the system that drives her Nautitech Open 46, named Blown Away — which also happens to be the largest vessel ever adapted for sip and puff sailing.

Twenty-three-year-old Natasha lives with quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy but hasn’t let it stop her attempting sailing feats that would be a challenge for even the most experienced able-bodies sailors.

And her latest achievement was skippering Blown Away with her family from Gran Canaria to the Caribbean as part of the 2020 ARC rally.

Yachting Monthly has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruising

A National Yacht Club crew from Dublin Bay have finished fourth in class and fourth monohull in the 2019 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). 

As previously reported on Afloat, the NYC crew made the crossing in the 80-foot Swan yacht Umiko

The transatlantic crew were former NYC Commodore Paul Barrington, Paul Fagan, Teddy Murphy, Dave O’Reilly, Barry O’Sullivan Alan Daly and Brian Uniacke. The NYC sailors were also joined by a father and daughter from Sweden Carl and Carolina Urban. The skipper was Olly Cotterdel. 

UMiko NYCThe NYC crew cross the finish line in St Lucia Photo: Photo Action


It is the second transatlantic success in as many days for the NYC as cadet member Conor Totterdell finished second in the RORC Transat race.

Published in Offshore
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With the majority of boats now docked in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and crews busy making preparations for their 2,700 nm Atlantic ahead of start of the ARC next Sunday - 24th November - it was time to mark the official opening of the 34th edition of the world's largest transocean rally for cruisers.

The Irish flag was flying proudly in the opening ceremony as an Irish group of sailors have chartered the British flagged yacht Umiko, a Swan 80to take part in ARC 2019.

It's always a favourite with ARC participants as they proudly follow behind a lively carnival-like procession around the marina, representing their countries with national flags.

"Irish sailors have chartered the British flagged yacht Umiko, a Swan 80"

This year was particularly special as the High Commissioner for Saint Lucia in London, H.E. Guy Mayers, along with a large group of Saint Lucians wearing colourful national dress, joined principal flag bearers for Spain, Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands to lead hundreds of ARC crews around Las Palmas Marina. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the event's arrival in the beautiful tropical Caribbean island of Saint Lucia and the 40th anniversary of the country's independence, with the occasion being marked in a number of ways for this year's rally. As a special year, the High Commissioner brought together a group of Saint Lucians from London to witness what makes the ARC such a defining experience for cruising sailors and share the excitement that they will spend three weeks at sea to reach Saint Lucia's shores.

With a spectacular, colourful carnival parade around the whole marina, crews from 35 different nations waved their national flags patriotically and got into the spirit of the event. For many this will be their longest ocean passage and for others, it is a regular trip across the pond, but for all, it has been the culmination of a lot of hard work and preparation in the build-up to this great adventure.

The international conga line was led by the Banda Gran Canaria, with the Batucada Timbalao beating a salsa rhythm at the back of the line. Once the procession had completed its parade around the marina, sailors were welcomed to the ARC by World Cruising Club's Managing Director Andrew Bishop. He thanked The Tourist Board of Gran Canaria and the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for their support, and praised the Port Authority who manage the marina for accommodating the vast number of ARC boats year on year.

Carlos Alamo, Consejero de Turismo del Cabildo de Gran Canaria spoke on behalf of the Tourist Board of Gran Canaria: "I welcome you. It is a pleasure for us to be chosen by you to set off from here to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia in this 34th edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. I hope that you are enjoying your stay in Gran Canaria, and have a safe crossing."

Coming to see the crew's preparations for the second time, and personally wish them well on the voyage, Guy Mayers High Commissioner for Saint Lucia in London addressed ARC sailors and said, "When you come to Saint Lucia you will understand what unique hospitality is all about. I want to thank all of you who have chosen to be part of this. We welcome you with open arms and will continue to grow the ARC together so thank you for choosing Saint Lucia and we wish you well across the ocean."

A week today, from 12:30 on Sunday 24 November, the fleet will begin their ocean adventure and say farewell to Gran Canaria, but before then, there is a packed programme of events for the days ahead.
The ARC fleet will set off this year with 190 entries from 35 different countries and is truly a multinational celebration which showcases the international flavour of the rally. The attraction to sail in company as one fleet has continued to have undaunted appeal. Twenty two boats will be sailing across with children and 44 will be part of a family adventure this year, with the youngest crew member being 3 years old on the German boat Gentoo.

The ARC is very diverse and attracts boats of all sizes and design. This year is no exception; the smallest being the German-flagged Amel Fango Falema at 10m, and then there's the superyacht 32m Ulisse, at the larger end of the size range - and everything in between! There has been a significant swing towards multihulls once again year and 40 catamarans will be on the start line in a week's time. The average cruising boat can expect to arrive in their final destination at Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia in 18 to 21 days, but the competitive Racing Division which will see 28 boats vying for position, will hope to reach the rum punch much sooner.

One special crew to follow this year is the ARC Youth Team, bringing 12 together sailors aged 18-30 from Gran Canaria, Saint Lucia and the UK to sail on board a 72ft Challenge sailing yacht, Challenger 1, operated by Tall Ships Sail Training Adventures. They will be accompanied on board by a professional Skipper and Mate, and two qualified Watch Leaders, on what will be an 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' and are supported by sponsors and benefactors who have been in involved with the ARC over the past three decades. The crew marched in the parade today under their own ARC Youth Team flag and will officially step on board the yacht for the first time tomorrow for some training.

As start day draws nearer, preparations for the crossing increase urgency as provisions are stowed, equipment is checked and re-checked, and further crew members fly in daily to join the yachts. World Cruising Club, together with local supporters including the Tourist Board of Gran Canaria and the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Port Authority and local chandlery Rolnautic, organise an extensive programme for the participants. In week two of the programme, many will take advantage of the free seminars led by some of the most respected cruising sailors and marine specialists in the industry. The famous ARC social programme is a fun way for participants to get to know one another, and form an Atlantic crossing community before they head out to sea.

Published in Cruising
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The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) will bring together a diverse group of boats and crews to sail with the historic ocean rally celebrating its 34th edition in 2019 and while there are no Irish entries among the fleet for next Sunday's start, two Irish boats are listed for next year's edition as part of the World ARC rally.

Conor Haughey will sail across in his Moody 54 Hibernian and Brendan Cahill is crossing in his 14m Lagoon 450, Boru. The 2020/2021 entry list is here

As the rally preparations commence, start dates for the two routes are scheduled for Sunday 10th November for ARC+ and Sunday 24th November for the ARC. As the largest transocean rally, the ARC is also the most eclectic; Sailors on all sizes of budget, of all ages and on all types of boat join in to cross the Atlantic on the trade-winds together, benefiting from the safe and social framework that the rally provides

The first stage of the rally sails from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Mindelo Marina, São Vicente, a distance of approximately 850nm taking between 5 and 7 days for a 12m (40’) cruising boat. Following the 3 to 5 day stopover, yachts can choose to sail to either Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia or Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent. The passage to the Caribbean is approximately 2150nm, and will take 12 to 16 days. 

Crossing the Atlantic from the Canaries via Cape Verde enables boats make the most of the northeast trade winds; their latitude at 16º50’N is right in the path of the trade winds, promising a great sail to the Caribbean and a warm welcome on arrival.

More here

Published in Cruising
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Eamon Crosbie's Discovery 55 Pamela from Dun Laoghaire has headed back to start-point Gran Canaria in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2017 writes W M Nixon. According to the current tracker situation, Pamela is heading eastward after a week of racing, but the mantle of Irish hopes has been taken up by Karl Fleming’s Hanse 630 Nereida, IRL 1556.

Karl Fleming is an international developer best known in Ireland for his extensive Pirate’s Cove Adventure Centre in Courtown, Co Wexford, but he also has other international projects. Nereida is a substantial and swift modern performance cruiser in classic contemporary Hanse style which can give a good account of herself in proper sailing conditions. But the wind situation along the ARC 2017 course is currently so frustrating that she is currently shown at just 5.5 knots, lying seventh in Cruising A and 24th overall in the 245-boat fleet.

Race tracker here

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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