Nineteen Yachts Set Sail For Bermuda

May 9, 2011

A multinational fleet of 77 sailors on 19 yachts flying the flags of 12 countries will be sailing to Bermuda, then cruising the Azores archipelago before heading for Lagos in Portugal.

The main fleet started from Nanny Cay on Tortola, British Virgin Islands on 05 May. The second fleet started from Hampton, Virginia on 06 May. The two fleets will rendezvous in St. George’s Bermuda for some social time and preparations for the 1800nm mile Atlantic passage to Horta on Faial in the Azores.

On 05 May the main ARC Europe fleet of 16 boats departed Tortola in fine style in very light easterly winds. First across the line was Bavaria 38 Ocean Diatonic (GBR), flying a cruising chute, and passing so close to the start boat that they were able to ask for their trophy already! Resolution 3 (FRA) celebrated their start of their Atlantic journey by popping open a bottle of champagne as they crossed the start line. Lady Lisa (SUI), Ariane (SUI), Surya (BEL) and Diatonic (GBR) currently head the fleet, but there’s a long way to go yet.

Over in Hampton Virginia, the four yachts on the US-Bermuda leg started on a reach in a brisk southerwesterly breeze. South African yacht Mojito really got the rally bug and were first across the line with the crew perched racer-style on the windward rail. The other yachts went for a more cruising approach, and with a good forecast, they should all be in Bermuda in a few days. For teenager Simon Gertler aboard Elsocare (GBR), this will be his first offshore passage, and Dad was on hand to wave him off on what should be a great adventure.

Larry Ivins, skipper of US-flagged Hylas 54 Berkeley East said of last year’s ARC Europe: “ARC Europe brings a whole new dimension to the term ‘boat rally’. The stops in Bermuda and the Azores gave everyone a chance to really get acquainted, and the land time made it much more of a vacation, rather than simply ‘moving the boat’. We cannot imagine the solitude of crossing the Atlantic alone. Our special thanks for helping to make this long passage a wonderful experience”

The average size of boats in the fleet is 14.5m, with the smallest being Moody 38 Elsocare (GBR) and Bavaria 38 Ocean Diatonic (GBR), and the largest are Discovery 55 Kalandia and Beneteau 57 Fred. All major boat builders are represented in between, including Wauquiez, Bavaria, Elan, J-Boats, Jeanneau and Moody.

Skippers and crew range in ages from their late teens to the over 70s, with the average age being 54 years.

Some boats are sailing home, others just starting their cruising adventure. Many of the yachts have previously crossed the Atlantic to the Caribbean with the ARC, and are now returning home after several seasons Caribbean cruising. For four boats and crews, ARC Europe is a rather more epic return home – Lady Lisa (SUI), Lady Ev. VI (GER), Ariane (SUI), Thor VI (POR) have just completed a circumnavigation with World ARC, sailing through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific, Indian and south Atlantic oceans.

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