Two hundred and nine boats answered the starting gun last Sunday for the start of the 24th annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles. The boats and crews hailed from a total of 32 countries. Conditions were light, with moderate winds expected in the early going.
Nonetheless, a day into the event, the German-owned custom JV53 Auliana lost her rudder, apparently without striking anything. A Spanish tow boat was sent out, but with the wind increasing to 20-28 knots, and the tow line repeatedly pulling the cleats off the racing boat, she was abandoned. The crew was returned to shore uninjured, and attempts to save the boat are ongoing.
Rudder failures are often deadly to boats that don’t have a backup device, because jury-rigged rudders rarely work, and it can be very difficult to tow a rudderless boat. Be prepared with a backup — they’re required on all TransPac, Pacific Cup and Singlehanded TransPac boats.
"Hubert Marcoux, a 68-year-old French Canadian solo sailor aboard the 45-ft Mon Pays, is presumed lost on his voyage from Halifax to Bermuda," writes Jack van Ommen of the Gig Harbor, Washington-based Naja 29 Fleetwood. Van Ommen’s boat is currently wintering in Amsterdam more than halfway through his wayward circumnavigation.
"Details are still sketchy. Did Mon Pays have a liferaft? Why didn’t the EPIRB go off, assuming he had one? Was he able to send a distress signal from his SSB radio? There should have been plenty warning of the possible track/influence of the remnants of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ida on November 5. Mon Pays departed Halifax November 9.
"Update: I just received the following from a weather radio operator asked to help in the search. I asked if he thought the presumed loss could have been prevented. He told me, ‘The skipper only had VHF — no liferaft, no EPIRB. My analysis suggested that by the 12th he would have hit easterly storm force conditions near the Gulf Stream, which would have continued for five days. This would have made it hard or impossible for him to make any progress towards Bermuda. The Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard sent out three aircraft, but found nothing.’
"For an ‘experienced’ sailor, I find it incredible that had no HF radio or satphone, no means to obtain weather info, no EPIRB, no liferaft. So yes, I think this presumed loss could have been prevented."
We think van Ommen is right.
So far, a total of 21 boats have signed up for this year’s Baja Ha-Ha-like Banderas Bay Blast, which runs from December 2-4. You can check them out right here:
1. Chicken Joe / J-80 / Kevin and Sandy Reath / Vallarta YC
2. Blue / J-160 / Ken and Cheryl Sears / Vallarta YC
3. Capricorn Cat / Hughes 45 cat / Wayne Hendryx / Punta Mita Y&S
4. Profligate / Surfin’ 63 cat / Doña de Mallorca / Punta Mita Y&S
5. Beach Access / Lagoon 330 / Glenn Twitchell / Punta Mita Y&S
6. Younger Girl / Lagoon 380 / Mark Sciarretta / San Diego
7. Southwind / Islander 36 / Jean Gregory / Oceanside
8. Sceptre / J/130 / Bob Musor / San Francisco
9. Eupsychia / Cal 36 / David Addleman / Monterey
10. Laniack / Yorktown 35 / John White / Puerto Vallarta
11. Imagine / Catalina 42 / Tom and Diane Miller / San Francisco
12. Destiny / Catalina 42 / John & Gilly Foy / Punta Mita Y&S
13. Tomatillo / Jeanneau 43DS / Jim Casey / Punta Mita Y&S
14. Dream Seeker / Oceanis 411 / Tom Lilienthal / La Cruz
15. Rotkat / Lidgard 43 cat / Arjan Bok / Emeryville
16. Raptor Dance / Valiant 50 / Bill Finkelstein & Mary Mack / Puerto Vallarta
17. Maya / LaFitte 44 / Rick Meyerhoff / Sausalito
18. Interlude / Morgan 38 / Don & Peggy Cox / Puerto Vallarta
19. Islander Mistress / Wellington 47 / Jeff & Judy Wahl / Puerto Vallarta
20. Charissa / Liberty 458 / Tom Jones / San Francisco
21. Sea Level / Schionning 49 / Jim & Kent Milski / Colorado
While entries in the free event sponsored by the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club and the Vallarta YC will be accepted until the first start on Wednesday, December 2, you must sign up by 6 p.m. today to get a T-shirt. Enter by sending boat name, boat type, your full name, and your hailing port to Richard.
- December 1, 4:30 p.m. — Pre-event pirate costume party aboard Profligate on the hook at Punta Mita. Sorry, there will be no panga service.
- December 2 — La Cruz Race. Starts from both Nuevo Vallarta and Punta Mita, with slow boats off at 1:45. Tune in low-power on 22 for race instructions starting at 1:00 p.m. (If 22 is still screwed up, use 23.) Free berth for one night in marina for all participants.
- Get together at marina — plus water balloon drop from Sky Bar — follows the sailing at about 4:30 p.m. This is where you get the T-shirts. Everyone is on their own for dinner, followed by the normal fun at Philo’s at 8 p.m. Plus free pizza for water balloon catch winners.
- December 3 — Punta Mita Race. Slow boats start from La Cruz at 1:30. Tune in 22/23 at 1 p.m. for start and finish instructions.
- Punta Mita Yacht and Surf Club annual reopening at the clubhouse starting at 4:30, followed by dinner, and music and the initiation of new members with the carbon fiber paddle. Location and details to be announced on the net. There might be panga service, but you never know.
- December 4 — Surfing in the morning. Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity to Nuevo Vallarta. Slow boats start at 1:30. Tune in 22/23 at 1 p.m. for details.
Have fun – no whining!
It may be too late to make up a plausible excuse your relatives will buy, but rather than doing the traditional drive-five-hours-in-hellish-traffic-only-to-eat-and-bicker-with-the-family, why not start a new tradition? Pack some turkey sandwiches, grab a couple pumpkin lattes and cast off for a mellow daysail. What better way to reflect on everything you’re thankful for?
We’ll catch you on the flip side of the weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!