Experience ARC 2020 onboard Swan 48 Montana
ARC 2020 started on the 22nd of November
300+ sailors on nearly 60 boats from around the world departed Las Palmas marina. The ARC is always a global event and this year is no exception with sailors from 29 countries, including France, New Zealand, Canada, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK. SY Montana, a Swan 48 with 6 crew onboard is one of them.
After the startline, the route was along the eastern coast of Gran Canary southbound. Montana is sailing speedily in the north-east trade wind on a south-westerly heading towards the Caribbean.
The skipper’s blog
This must have been like 10-15 years ago.
57 ships in the ARC. You know each other and everything is familiar. But today everything is different. Due to Corona, only groups of up to 10 people are allowed and we have to wear masks. In addition, we are limited to our jetty and cannot visit the other sailors. The seminars are held online via Zoom.
Nevertheless, everyone is in a good mood, you can only see smiling faces on the jetty. The German fleet is also rather small with 3 ships, in addition to “Montana” there is “Peter von Seestermühe” and “Yuma”. In addition, there is “Albatros” from Manfred sailing under the US flag.
Day 5, 800 nm sailed
The weather data promise a good start and trade winds right from the start. Unfortunately, the wind on the start day is rather light and from the southeast, i.e. from the front. We’re doing great and after about 10 minutes we’re in the 3rd place of our starting group. But then it becomes too much for most boats and sailors and they start the engine and everyone passes us to find the wind behind Gran Canaria. Unfortunately, we are doing it too late and now we have to follow. The old hands head west straight after Gran Canaria, heading for St. Lucia. We want to go a little further south first, but that turns out to be unnecessary. We didn’t think that you could really drive a direct course. The winds in the following days are good but it requires some sail changes, even at night. On the 5th day, the first 800 miles are done.
Neptune is still with us
29 November 2020: Neptun is still with us, but he makes it a little bit challenging. Always the question if we go with the ordinary setup with mainsail and genoa or twin headsails poled out. That keeps us busy. The wind is still variable in direction and strength. Today we tried the Spinnaker for the first time and it’s running well.
Day 12, thunderstorms
4 December 2020. We are now on day 12. Yesterday evening we had a very large thunderstorm area. It went on for several hours. Heavy rain, no visibility, lots of lightning and thunder. When the rain stopped and we thought it was over, the wind blew up to 30Kn. We took the main into the 2nd reef and we also reefed the genoa. At night the wind turned again and we had to put down the mainsail completely to keep on course. But the other boats also struggled, so we won a place in the ranking. The next few days remain changeable, still a lot of work.
Several days of calm
8 December 2020. After several days of calm where we had to use the machine, we have light wind again with which we can sail. At the moment it’s just the little spinnaker, all other sails would just flap. We sail a speed of 5,5kn with a wind of 5kn from astern. In 2 days, on Thursday morning, we will probably arrive. The fridge was stocked with beer as a precaution for our arrival. Unfortunately, the situation in St. Lucia has worsened. We have to do another PCR test and stay in quarantine until the result, expected to be 48h. We all hope that afterwards, we can enjoy the Caribbean.
Finish, 10 December 2020
The happy crew notified me they made it.
Finish and award ceremony
The ARC 2020 was an outstanding experience for all sailors on Montana.
The second last day, we were able to unpack the big spinnaker again. This went very well at the beginning until a little rain shower came up behind us. We thought we could evade, but we didn’t quite succeed. The wind got stronger. It was quite difficult to keep the boat under control and the command came to furl. When we were ready, the shower was almost over, so we left the spi up. A few minutes later it was quiet again and we were able to leave the spi up until sunset. After this experience, we wanted to take it down for the night. Unfortunately, the wind got lighter during the night, so that we lost a few miles to our competitors on the last night on the ocean. We crossed the finish line 3 hours behind the “Peter von Seestermühe” at 10:47 LT. Tim Wright, the ARC photographer, took beautiful photos of us in the morning sun and when we entered the marina where we were warmly welcomed by the other boats.
After the first rum punches from the St. Lucia tourist office, the COVID test was elated. Since our friends had to be moored on the other jetty, there was a private party on board Montana. The next day we were allowed to move to the main marina after negative test results. In the next few days, we discovered St. Lucia with trips to Marigot Bay and the Pitons. After we got back there were no official results yet – the WCC made it exciting. The award ceremony was then a great event. Because of Corona, this took place on the jetty and an excursion catamaran served as a stage. We met with our friends on “Emily Morgan”. To our surprise, we were called up as 2nd in class 1B, which of course we celebrated appropriately. Afterwards, it turns out that there was a misunderstanding with the engine hours of the “Peter von Seestermühe” and our result was corrected to 3rd place. But since no other boat of class 1A was faster, and we also achieved 3rd place among all cruisers. A result that made us very happy and also a little proud.
Montana already registered to compete in the ARC 2021, so you are welcome.