It is on its way again, with 220 sailboats from all types, including many cats. The yachts that are doing it are mostly recent boats and it is a good opportunity to look at their performance on an Atlantic crossing, following the principle that it is possible to sail a fast boat slow but not possible to sail a slow boat fast, I mean out of what it is really his best potential.
The ARC is not a race even if it has a small racing division and it is only a race for those, that are a very small number regarding the 220 yachts. Most of the boats are from European cruisers that are making the Atlantic loop, passing the European winter on the Caribbean and getting back to Europe in the Spring. There are also a considerably number of charter boats that are doing the same, going for the Caribbean charter season to come later to the Med one on the European Summer. The Charter boats take the opportunity to offer charter place to the ones that want to have the experience to cross the Atlantic. They are not racing since the crew is typically very inexperienced (with an experienced skipper) but nobody likes to go slow. You can see here what are the boats that are racing and the ones that are cruising. On the list you will have at the end of each boat line racing or cruising, as it is the case. https://www.worldcruising.com/arc/ar...ntentries.aspx
The organization provides assistance, a social program and loans a satellite tracker for a fee that can go from 1000 to 1200 pounds for boats between 10.3 and 16.29m plus 125 pouds for each crew member. Not much for what is offered and the fun to make a transat with more 200 sailboats. Even on a cruising spirit it is much more fun to make it this way than alone, not to mention comparing the performance of our boat and crew with the one of other cruisers.
I have been following and I will continue to follow this transat, with more detail on a bot forum so if you want to participate and want more infornation you are welcomed to "my" thread about it here: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f129/arc-2017-the-boats-and-the-performances-175970.html
I will be more interested on cruising boats till 60ft, with a special interest on the smaller ones, specially the ones that are doing a fast passage. I have noticed some already, even if it is too soon to have a global view, made more difficult because some boats are choosing to go over the rhumb line (or to the North of it), were there is more wind (too much for some), others go really South, almost near the African coast, where there will be less win and others go on the middle of the two extreme options, for medium to strong winds, but not as strong as the ones on the North. Some days ahead there will be a big high pressure center and the ones on the North will be the ones that will have a better chance to avoid it.Regarding the boats, some yachts doing a great performance, including among them and going fast, a A35, several More 55, a Grand Soleil 43BC , a Moody 45DS, a Dufour 44p, several Oysters, two Hanse 575, a Dufour 455, a Bavaria 51, a Solaris one 42, a Leopard 46, two Discovery 55, a First 40, a FP Lucia 40, three Lagoon 620, a Leopard 48, a Mobile 53, a Catana 47, a Bavaria 47, a X 43, a Lagoon 42, a Lagoon 450, a Beneteau 50, a Catana 531, a Baltic 51, a Baltic 50 a Dufour 385, two Elan 434, a Lagoon 52, a FP Lavezzi 40, a Sense 50, a XP50, Hylas 54 and a Arcona 400.
Lot's of boats? not in 220 and the fact there are many different types of boats there means that downwind on the trade winds, many boats can go fast, even if the speed is not proportional to size. If we consider size then the better performance goes to the A35, the Arcona 400, the GS 43, the Lucia 40, the Lagoon 42, the First 40, the Lavezzi 40, a More 55 a Catana 531 and a Dufour 385.
Once again we see that condo cats can be fast downwind almost at the same speed than lighter performance cats and that it is not enough to have a fast performance cat to sail faster (there is a brand new 60ft Outremer 5x that has been slower than the Lagoon 42), that the cats in a general way are not faster than monohulls and that among monohulls several types have not a very different pace. Having lots of wind, going downwind and not having racing crews seems to contribute to equalize things in what regards performance even if performance cruisers tend to be faster, specially the smaller ones.
That is just the beginning, later, near the end of the passage I will make another post to confirm or not these ideas and to see what are the boats that really have shined on this ARC. You can follow the ARC on a tracker here: http://yb.tl/arc2016#