Before you go on reading this news update we have to inform that it is written for very interrested sailors. If you intend to do the ARC some time or you simply found the list in this year and earlier years for that sake a bit strange this is what we have as conclusions seen from Cubaneren.
Already when we signed on to do the ARC 2016, 11 months before the start we handed in all details for our boat. We guess all the other boats also did this. How the organizers are setting the ratings are for me a big question. Compared to other normal rating rules (ORC) we were set 15% higher. Normally we rate quite equal to First 36.7, Elan 37 and those type of boats. We should now compete at almost the same rating as Grand Soleil 50, Moody 54, Baltic 51 etc. Our Wasa 55 is 44 feet long. The number; 55 is standing for upwind sailarea (mainsail + 100% jib) and is probably pretty close to half of what a Baltic 51 have in only their genoa.
Before the start we complained about our rating and got 0,01 lower rating (about 5 hours on 16 days sailing). The big problem however was of course that we where still in the same class. The right class for us would have been G or maybe H. There we would have competed with Arcona 400 and Swan 441. The boat in this year ARC which was probably the most «equal» to ours was the Ron Holland designed Swan 441, designed and built 1978/79, 4 years later than our Wasa on the same hull length. Still the Swan have longer waterline length. I bet Ron Holland did not intend to design a boat to be slower than a 4 year old boat. We actually have a «skeg» type going from the back of the keel and all the way to the rudder. On the + side for us, we are a pretty light boat, but that also show on our sailarea which is more comparable with todays 33-34 feet boats. (The Swan had 0.973 and we sailed on 1.029)
The ARC is about crossing a big ocean with challenging conditions in an as far as it gets controlled setting. Safety is important and by starting at the same time we are a lot of boats that may offer assistance to other boats in need. Family and friends may also have planned their vacation in St. Lucia and it is a good thing that the competitors may use the engine to get there in a reasonable time. The rules are that you have to report how many hours you use the engine for propulsion, and you get time extra for that. We filed a complaint / asked a question about the classwinner in our class but the organizers chose to not bother with it. It is not about protesting from our side, to do that you have to pay 300£. The protest must be filed within 3 hours after your finish and that is just not possible when you have to get the boats in before you can make a case regarding engine hours. It would in other words not been a point in protesting.
A short story of what we sent in, for the organizers to dig in:
In the beginning of the trip we sailed further south than the other 4 fastest in our class and
had wind. We could sail more miles but did not sail direct route so
distance left to the finishline was quite the same as for the boats in the
north. However if we look at Nashorn (Baltic 51) and Bluetangos (GS 50) on day 2, the Bluetango
is stretching 40 miles, almost from the same point and in the same
On day 3-6 I believe we all sailed, in fast conditions.
On day 7 at least we started to have light conditions. This may however be a
clean engine day. We probably had a bit lighter conditions being 30-40 miles
Day 8-10 was pretty much the same for all the boats concerning
windconditions. In these days we are using our 22 enginehours and performing
93,121,120 miles thru the days. The Bluetango is doing 133,137,153.
After this the best conditions were probably in front of the fleet but in
general everyone should have had good sailing conditions.
Bluetango – 11 hours
Blue Ocean – 33 hours (And very close to Bluetango during the race)
Cubaneren – 22 hours (We know where we have used the engine, described
Nashorn – 7 hours (We thought they had 0 before they finished. They have
used the engine in the 3 days in the middle of the race)
As a wrap up: I think that the under reporting of engine hours is a bigger
problem for the ARC organizing authority than for one single boat (us). If
we will do the ARC again it will be in the racing class both to have a
proper rating and to not having to think about the engine hours which is
used. If no action is taken in this case I can not recommend other ones to
join the ARC cruising if they are expecting fair sailing.
With this Cubaneren is signing off the ARC 2016. We did a very good crossing, used all the sails we had brought with us and also used the engine, since the rules are written so that we will lose to the others if we do not use it when we can not manage to sail faster than about 3,5 knots directly to the finish line.
We have had a great experience again, crossing the Atlantic, but the most important is still the social part of it all which is great!