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Old 04-12-2007, 03:50   #1
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Swagman in the ARC

Hey, All.

I thought some might be interested in following Forum member Swagman in the ARC rally (Canary Islands to St Lucia).

As of yesterday at noon, Swagman was presently in 44th place out of 236 boats, and had made good a 171 nm day--not bad at all!

The ARC tracking site is World Cruising Club Arc fleet viewer

Here's a page from his log:

Swagman Log - Day 7 - Hunting some wind on the south side of the course

Since noon yesterday we've been heading south west, looking to dip that further 300 miles south before taking up a new heading due west for St Lucia. As explained before, it's to avoid the low that straddled our old course, and also its attendant light wind area sitting to the south of it, that's forcing us to cover these extra miles. It means by the time we get to St Lucia our course is going to look a bit like a big lazy S, but with luck we should retain reasonable breezes most of the way and moving. I don't care which way we go to get there, as long as we can go quickly!

The full sail wardrobe has now been aired a few times. Our symmetrical spinnaker as been helping us keep up good speeds for most of yesterday arvo and this morning. Even the poled out genoa with full main dead downwind at night has worked well keeping us up in the 8 knot range. It's only been this afternoon when we needed to replace the spinnaker as thw wind eased and went further south. We could not sail with the kite so shy, but the Code 0 headsail came into itself in helping us to head up into this new breeze and continue to head south. It is a great upwind sail for light airs, all mylar and tape, allowing us to make 7 knots in less than 10 knots of true breeze to get out of the zone and back into fresher winds!

The suns got so hot this afternoon we've even accepted we are kinda cruisers, and hauled up the bimini. Blessed shade - and needed - as today were celebrating our crossing of the half way point. It seems odd. What with hot sun, flat sea, warm breezes, spinnaker flying, boat sliding along nicely, and us all with glasses charged and sippin cold wine. It's definitely not a race right now.

Our noon position today was 18 44N 38 03W. We've covered 171 miles since midday yesterday, and all under sail.

Lotsa love to everyone from Sue, Gerry and John

John Allison
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:57   #2
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Thanks Hud3!
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:44   #3
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Swagman finishes ARC Atlantic crossing

Congrats to Forum member Swagman! 37th place of 235 entries, 16 day crossing--a sizeable accomplishment! Way to go, John, Sue and Gerry!

Final log posted on the ARC website:

Swagman Log - Day 15 - We Can Almost Smell Land


Today is our final full day at sea, we should arrive St. Lucia tomorrow, only one more dinner to cook, one more night shift at 3.00 am, one more night sleeping in an oven with damp, sticky sheets. How do I feel, excited at the prospect of arriving on terra firma, the rum punch awaiting and a huge lobster salad for dinner tomorrow night,stories to tell and listen to, but I also feel a tinge of sadness, it's been a trip we have been planning for so long, and the three of us have got into our own little routine in our own little world. The sailing has been spectacular for the most part, except the times when there has been no wind, and I've been energised, excited and nervous by turn. Would I do it again? Absolutely YES.

Love to all Sue xx


From my perspective the trip has had all the aspects I thought it might have, with some 150 miles to go we are being a bit reflective on the trip and without doubt my highlights (apart from the amount learned) include charging downhill with full main and poled out headsail sitting on top of the sizeable swells and looking down into the holes…..really amazing ! Then to top that John taught me how to dive into the holes and across the wave for more speed - what a feeling : The other main highlight was at the helm whilst sailing under spinnaker and surfing along at 10.8kts……Sue has limited time left to get 10.9+.

Another aspect that ha been interesting to observe and experience are the squalls that come through, in fact we were this morning sailing along in really hot sunshine and blue skies with the Code Zero giving us good speed with the breeze at around 8 kts.
We saw the squall coming in and no sooner had we dropped the Code Zero and got out some rolled up genny (we had full main still up) , that we found ourselves in torrential rain and 30 kts of breeze charging downhill with the combined efforts of the wind and rain flattening the seas.

I could go on for long enough about the trip - but one observation I would make is when people refer to the ARC or indeed anyone crossing the Atlantic disparagingly as the "Milk Run". They do need to have a re-think. Out of boats crossing this year including ARC and non ARC there have been reported -
Around 6-8 boats with damaged booms.
Two people evacuated onto a freighter and cruise liner respectively
One MOB - successfully recovered
Two boats abandoned.
One boat sunk and crew rescued from their liferaft.
And probably more incidents that we are unaware of…..Soe "milk run !".

All this without having recourse to any rescue facilities, such as calling on the RNLI or medics whether sailing in the Solent or the Clyde.

John's offshore race experience has obviously stood him in good staid, and it has been interesting for me to understand his strategy and see it all falling into place.

One more night of watches and then we should arrive tomorrow around midday (ish) and it will be strange to sleep on a level bunk without having to clamber out for a three hour watch.

Love to Family and Friends back home.


At noon today we were at 14 37N, 57 43W, nil engine used. Distance covered in 24 hour was 179 miles - so VMG to St Lucia averaged 7.46 knots.
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