Spirit smashes ARC record

The first yacht for ARC 2003, Spirit finished in style, breaking the course record by several hours. Spirit, one of the two Volvo 60’s taking part in the ARC, skippered by Hamish Oliphant and his crew of 15, steamed across the ARC finish line under full sail at 18 knots. The yacht arrived on Thursday 4th December at approximately 8:30 pm.Reports of an incredible sight as she rounded Pigeon Island in the dark, approaching the finish line with her crew hanging out high on the windward side, huge smiles on everyone’s faces have been filed.This is a great achievement for all the crew, with a finish time some 10 hours ahead of the previous ARC course record, Spirit now holds the new ARC course record of 11 days, 13 hours, 12 minutes and 20 seconds. The crew remarked that their top speed had been 21.3 knots surfing down a wave. It seems the excitement of racing such a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean also means a trade off in the galley department and several cries of joy were heard from the few that had missed fresh fruit and vegetables for the last 11 days as the welcome fruit baskets were loaded aboard.At anchor last evening, the skipper opted to keep it simple rather than attempt to squeeze their 12 foot draft through the narrow cut leading to Rodney Bay marina. Today St. Lucia will welcome the record breaking Spirit with a special ceremony at 11:00am at the Rodney Bay Marina, a live band and undoubtedly a carnival atmosphere will prevail.Next ARC boat due to arrive looks to be Venom, most likely arriving the morning of Friday 5 December.