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ARC Starts, One Boat Abandoned

The Croatian yacht Mambo crossed the start line on Sunday with 208 other boats.

© 2009 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

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.

Looking dejected but otherwise healthy, the crew of Auliana II were safe ashore after an unexplained rudder loss forced them to abandon ship.

© Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

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.

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