Offshore racing

ARC 2019: 40 multihulls on the startline at Las Palmas for the transatlantic crossing!

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The ARC is the world's greatest transatlantic rally: the start line, off the port of Las Palmas is immense, and the spectacle of a fleet of nearly 200 sailboats under spinnaker really is impressive... This event, in which you participate in racing mode or non-racing, is celebrating its 34th edition. The ARC is the undisputed leader of the genre: there are others, though, with organizers such as the Rallye des Iles du Soleil, and the Atlantic/Caribbean Odyssey, setting up (or setting up again, for Jimmy Cornell) similar projects but which aren’t bringing together more than 30 yachts. The ARC, on the other hand, is the victim of its own success. And the ever-increasing presence of multihulls further complicates the welcome that the ports can provide: a catamaran almost takes the place of two monohulls... Not to mention trimarans!

Andrew Bishop, the big boss of the ARC, has had to resolve the lack of space at Las Palmas marina, and so has organized three separate events... The first, the ARC+, had 90 participants – as opposed to 72 last year, who left Las Palmas on November 11th, heading for Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands, who then departed again for St Lucia on November 20th. The brand-new ARC+ St Vincent is four days behind the first and ends up in St Vincent. Finally, the third departure is the one we went to watch: the classic ARC... 

This year, catamarans were well-represented. But not just to make up the numbers: Régis Guillemot's TS5 Hallucine came in first over the line at Rodney Bay, ahead of the monohull Ulisse, twice the length... and crewed by a former America's Cup team. Régis, by opting for a southerly route, picked up to the better-established trade winds. His course time: 11 days, 16 hours, 52 minutes and 47 seconds. Under full main and asymmetrical spinnaker throughout her transatlantic race, Hallucine maintained a good average speed of 15.2 knots and clocked up one day’s run of 385 nautical miles. Let’s hear it for the multihulls!

The ARC 2019 in figures

40 multihulls were signed up, compared to 35 in 2018 and 15, back in 2008. The most-represented brand was Lagoon, with 17 boats.

The average boat length was 15.48 m (50’9”), compared to 15.36 m (50’5”) in 2018 and 14.30 m (46’11”) in 2008.

11 years: this was the average age of the fleet - 12 years old in the previous edition. But that of the multihulls is only 3 years!

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