Atlantic Rally for Cruisers - Swans prepare to embark on voyage

Swan 62 Albatros in action on previous ARC race.
© Manfred Kerstan
Sunday, 25 November will mark the start of the renowned Atlantic Rally for Cruisers organised by the World Cruising Club. Yachts from thirty countries will take part in the transatlantic crossing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to the Caribbean destination of St. Lucia. The 2,700 nautical mile passage on the NE tradewinds route takes between fourteen and twenty-one days.

The ARC entry list stands at 230 boats, the majority of which are sailed by family and friends on the adventure of a lifetime. Of the fleet, Swan is well represented with 19 Swans taking part ranging from the Swan 40 Storm Svale to the Swan 80 Berenice. Italian owned Swan 80 Berenice is the largest boat competing this year and took line honours in the 2010 ARC. The Swans will be competing for the Swan Transatlantic Challenge Trophy, produced by Asprey, as part of the Swan Challenge Series which recognises Swan owners competing in the most important international offshore regattas.

ClubSwan member Manfred Kerstan will be taking part in the 2012 edition of the ARC with his Swan 62 Albatros. This will be his 18th ARC, his first transatlantic crossing was in 1986.

'I am especially looking forward to this event as I have won it three times already and now I want to be the first man to sail in 20 ARCs, as I plan to do about another five or six years. As I am now retired, the ARC is a good way for me to spend the winter in the Caribbean on my Swan 62 Albatros, and then the summer in Ibiza. Finding crew is never hard as many people would love to take part in this race' said Manfred Kerstan, owner of Swan 62 Albatros.

Swan 62 Albatros - previous ARC race Manfred Kerstan
© Manfred Kerstan

Also preparing for the ARC is Swan 45 Satori, entered into the racing division and skippered by Gideon Messink, Swan agent for the Benelux region. Anita van Oeveren, who is crewing on Satori commented;

'We are really looking forward to the ARC; it’s the first time Satori has entered so it will be a new experience. We decided to enter so we can sail in the events over in the Caribbean up until the end of the season, before returning to Holland. The team is a selection of experienced sailors, who all share the same dream – to complete the ARC once. For me, I am especially looking forward to crossing the Atlantic, downwind under spinnaker. However, sailing with seven crew members and no shower will also prove interesting!'

The other Swan 45 taking part, in the cruising division is German Swan 45 High Yield, owned by Hanns Ostmeier.

There are three Swan 48s lining up on Sunday for the start, two Australian owned Swans, and a British Swan, Zen owned by John Bainbridge. John’s daughter Joanne is sailing onboard with him creating a father-daughter team.

'I have been sailing Swans now for about eight years starting out on the Swan 45 circuit and completed my first Transatlantic when I was 19. I have been trying to complete another ARC ever since and sail again with my father on board our Swan 48, Zen. This will be my second major offshore event and I cannot wait to get started, it will be great to have some time away from everyday life and really enjoy time on our boat together,' said Joanne Bainbridge.

At 1245 on Sunday 25th November the gun for the RORC Racing Division will sound, followed by the Cruising division at 1300.

From 11th – 15th March 2013, the Swan class will be descending on the British Virgin Islands for the Rolex Swan Cup, hosted by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. This will include four days of sailing and socialising for ClubSwan members and friends.

We wish all competitors a successful Atlantic crossing!