The ARC+ has become bigger but the ARC continues to be the benchmark of all transats in what regards number of boats. And it is not bigger because they limited the entries to 200 and divert the excess to the ARC+.
There are two main differences to the ARC+ : On the ARC there is a small racing class and this Transat is a direct one going from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean without stopping in Cabo Verde.
The racing division in what racing is concerned is a low profile one, 2nd rate race, used for some racers that are going to make the IRC racing season on the Caribbean and for some sportive cruisers, just to have more fun doing the boat transfer and do a bit of competition. The main difference from the cruising transat is that on the racing division the engine cannot be used.
This year we had a racing star doing it on his cruising sailboat, a JP54. Jean-Pierre Dick, for the moment without an offshore racer, decided to make it for the fun of it and to attract potential sponsors for more serious racing. His crew is composed by CEOs that he wants to interest in offshore sail racing.
Well, they should be interested by now because Jean-Pierre smashed the competition having already arrived, beating with his 54ft performance cruiser a Swan 80 (by 14 hours) and a Bill Tripp 128ft Maxi yacht, that entered just one hour and a half after the Swan.
Other boat that is impressing me is the Mobile 53, a strange boat not because its design has something special but because it is a 16 year old aluminum cruiser racer designed by Almaz a Russian cabinet design specialized in warships: the number of vessels built over their plans are over 26 000!!!
It seems that they can design good sailboats too and that Russian shipyards that once built mainly warships are up to the task of building light and fast aluminum sailboats.
|Oyster lightwave 48|
Anna, the Mobile 53, is beating the two fastest and bigger multihulls, a 59ft new Outremer 5X and an older Aikane 56. I did not know the Aijkane 56 but it is a very fast and light catamaran, with daggerboards, a 8 year old cat designed by Van Peteghem / Lauriot-Prevost. The three boats clearly very well sailed and racing are involved in a very interesting battle.
|Grand Soleil 43|
Another one making a great Transat is Nica a FC53. That’s among the very short list of boats that I would like to own, if I was a rich man (LOL). If you look at the blog you will find a post about it, a kind of carbon Super Pogo with a dinghy garage and a swing keel, a beautiful yacht with a good cruising interior.
The FC53 is fighting with a Swan 70, a Shipman 80, a Southern wind 72 and a 60 ft beautiful Catamaran, an Explorer 60, a yacht that Toby Hodges (Yachting World) says it is a kind of a Swan, in what regards cats.
On ARC they insist in not making a racing class for cats even if some do the ARC racing and declare 0 liters of consumed fuel at the end of it. It is a shame, unjustified and discriminatory since the number of cats certainly is enough to create a racing division for the ones that want to make a more sportive transat, without using the engine.
|Grand Soleil 43|
And of course, the Scarlet Oyster, a habitual costumer, a well known old cruiser racer Lightwave Oyster 48, that is used for extensive racing on both sides of Atlantic, is doing, as usual, a fantastic race, not far from the boats mentioned above. A very well sailed boat with a good and very experienced racing crew. They are in a particular fight with a Swan 68.
At some distance behind a new catamatan Outremer 4x (45ft) is going at the same pace of an Amel 64. Not far comes the first 40ft boat, a Pogo 12.50 fighting with a Corby 45, a First 47.7, a Grand Soleil 43, a Hanse 575, a Lagoon 560, a More 55 and a Farr 520.
Close comes another group with a Halberg Rassy 54, another Grand Soleil 43, a XC45 a Nautitech 47, an X46 and another More 55.
At some distance from those, the first boat with less than 40ft is a little Pogo 30 that is making a fantastic passage and that is sailing at the same pace of a Pogo 36, an Outremer 51 and a new Fountain Pajot Saona 47.
All these boats are being sailed fast in a sportive way or racing and are way ahead of most other monohulls and catamarans on the Transat.