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Dopo aver coperto più di 2.700 miglia e aver trascorso oltre 12 giorni in mare, solo 16 minuti e 5 secondi hanno separato i...

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – St. Lucia – Dopo aver coperto più di 2.700 miglia e aver trascorso oltre 12 giorni in mare, solo 16 minuti e 5 secondi hanno separato i primi due classificati dell’Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2009. Un distacco talmente ridotto che, sul finire, ha obbligato gli skipper del VOR 60 Big One e del Wally 80 Bagheera a un serrato duello di strambate, con Big One che ad ogni incrocio difendeva la parte nord, obbligando Bagheera ad andare verso sud. Una tattica che ha premiato l’equipaggio del VOR 60, giunto sul traguardo con un angolo favorevole rispetto a quello dell’avversario.

Un successo che Piotr Madej, skipper di Big One, ha così commentato: “A cinque ore dal traguardo abbiamo strambato per l’ultima volta. Da quel momento abbiamo navigato con un ottimo angolo e buona velocità sfruttando le particolari caratteristiche della nostra barca, capace di veleggiare alle portanti in modo più efficace rispetto a Bagheera“.

Gioia è stata manifestata anche dall’equipaggio del secondo classificato che, al tirar delle somme, ha coperto circa 3.400 miglia per raggiungere il traguardo caraibico e non ha registrato alcuna rottura importante, se non quella relativa alla scotta dello spi, spaccatasi proprio in dirittura di arrivo.

Terzo, ad alcune ore dalla coppia di testa, si è piazzato lo Swan 70 Stay Calm, leader incontrastato della regata per quasi dieci giorni.


[World Cruising Press Release] After a course distance of 2,700 miles and almost twelve days at sea just 16 minutes and 5 seconds separated the first two yachts to cross the finish line in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Both skippers of the Volvo 60 Big One and the Wally 80 Bagheera enthused about the exciting down wind duel, particularly over the last 24 hours. Every few hours the boats would meet and then gybe apart, Big One staying north whilst Bagheera went south. In the end it was the final gybe that decided the first to finish with Big One on a better angle to take advantage of the wind shift they experienced as they closed Martinique and then St.Lucia.

Big One arrives in St.Lucia Piotr Madej, skipper of Big One commented “Five hours before the finish we held on to the final gybe for a couple of miles which placed us in a good position for the right wind angle to take us to the finish line. We are lucky as we can sail well downwind at angles of up to 160 degrees, more than Bagheera”.

Crossing the line today (4 December) at 03.36 22 local St.Lucia time, to take Line Honours in ARC 2009, Big One set a good time, but not a new record. Sailing outside of the competition in the Open Division, Big One is not affected by the three-hour time penalty the yacht would have incurred for crossing the start line slightly early had she been racing.

Determined to minimise the time between the yachts Bagheera made an impressive sight as she rounded Pigeon Island and powered up on the wind for the last mile to the finish line. Her dark hull stealth like against the night horizon. On crossing the line to take Line Honours in the RORC Racing Invitation Racing Division, the yacht bore away and de-powered down wind heading back to deeper waters, as with a draft of 4.7m they needed to be careful in the shallow waters of Rodney Bay. Although the channel to the lagoon and Rodney Bay Marina have recently been dredged to 4.5m (15ft), Bagheera’s draft will prevent her attempting an entry until high water later today.

Close on their heels is the Swan 70 Stay Calm, who set the pace of the race early on, only to be overtaken in the last days by Big One and Bagheera.

Interestingly Bagheera sailed a shade under 3,400 miles to complete the course; also straight out of the box for the race, the yacht has sailed close on 5,000 in just five weeks, and the first breakage was a spinnaker sheet snap shackle just minutes from the finish.

All three yachts have made for an incredibly interesting knife edge race and run to the finish, made more so by the decision of the organisers to fit Yellowbrick Iridium trackers to the racing division yachts this year, enabling followers on the web to share the excitement.

Despite being in the early hours of the morning there was a great turn out of officials and local press to welcome the yachts, the St.Lucia Tourist Board being represented by LaVaughn Francis, Director Special Events, and IGY Rodney Bay Marina by the deputy manager, Edwin Charles.

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