ARC+ rally closes in Grenada with prizegiving and first place position for Canadian X Yachts X4.6, captured here arriving in Port Louis


Canadian yacht Imi Makani, who PBO captured arriving in Grenada last week, was one of the ARC+ yachts to take home a trophy at the prizegiving ceremony, bringing to a close the 11th edition of the transatlantic rally.

The X-Yachts X4.6, skippered by Chris Cumming, won first place in the Class B division for cruisers, and sailed the the 2,270 miles of the second leg from Cape Verde in 14 days, 7 hours and 43 minutes.

Skipper Chris met crew Kevin Nelson at the University of British Columbia. The pair have been friends ever since, and were joined on the passage by three other friends.

The sailors’ wives Nicky and Kimberly were on the pontoon in Port Louis Marina to meet them, excitedly waving a Canadian flag and banner saying, “Cheers Imi Makani”.

“It was brilliant, fabulous, really good fun,” said one crew, whose highlight was night sailing. “We didn’t run the engine at all, we had the wind all the way; Imi Makani, means searching for the wind.”

A third of the boats in this year’s ARC+ rally sailed the second leg without declaring any motoring hours.

One boat was even photographed from 38,000ft when the crew’s brother-in-law, a BA Pilot, happened to be flying above!

First Lebanese entrant

PBO was in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria to wave-off the ARC+ crews as they set sail on their first leg to Mindelo, Cape Verde. We then met the crews on the pontoons in Grenada for their arrival, including that of the ARC’s first Lebanese entrant, Toni Salame.

Toni placed third in division A, completing the second leg of the rally in 15 days, 43 minutes and 32 seconds, a success he attributed to studying weather data using fast internet service Starlink and his new TradeWind sail.

“Ahlam means ‘dreams’ and this is the dream,” said Toni, who was joined by wife Ana and sons Carlos and Nicholas. “The wind was very fair with us, always downwind, and we paid a lot of attention to our sails. If you damage them you can lose a lot of time sorting things out.”

We also met the Stevens family, who crossed the Atlantic on Nautitech 46 Open Pinnacle with a baby and two-year-old.

“I’d have been busy if I was on land and exhausted on land so why not chuck in a couple of night watches and see a bit more of the world?” said mum Stephanie.

Stef’s daily updates on Instagram won Pinnacle the Best Social Media award – see @sailingpinnacle. PBO will be bringing you some top tips from Stef and husband Rich on how to kit-out your boat for little people.

ARC+ 23 Division 1 winners

The other winners in the ARC+ Division 1 for cruisers were Italia Yachts 15.98, Nessun Dorma in Class A – who also took line honours for being the first finisher without motoring – Luffe 48 Sassicai in Class C and Bowman 40 Cupid in Class D.

Crews celebrate their achievement at the ARC+ prizegiving in Prickly Bay, Grenada

This year’s rally, which set sail from Las Palmas Gran Canaria, with a stopover in Grenada, attracted 95 entries from 24 different countries – the highest number to date. Over 400 participants celebrated their transatlantic achievement at the prizegiving ceremony held at Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada last Thursday.

Applause from Grenadian minister

Minister for Economic Development, Lennox Andrews, applauded the ARC+ sailors on their accomplishment: “We celebrate your remarkable achievements, your resilience and passion for sailing the oceans,” he said. “Thank you for gracing our shores and confirming our tri-island state as a premier destination for adventure and sports sailing.”

Paul Tetlow, Managing Director of World Cruising Club thanked the Mr Andrews on behalf of the ARC+ participants: “The reception we have received here in Grenada has been second to none, and we already have fond feelings for our landfall island in the Caribbean.”

ARC+ 23 line honours

Line honours for first finishers with no motoring were awarded to Andrea Nevi and the crew of Nessun Dorma (ITA) with an elapsed time from Grenada of 11d 18h, 01m 49s, and to Norbert and Francoise Paproki who sailed Outremer 55-2 XIII Treize (FRA) to multihull line honours in 12d 02h 14m 01s.

The crew of Italia Yachts Nessun Dorma celebrate line honours in Grenada

In the largest-ever multihull fleet, the winners in Class A were Outremer 51 Maracujar (FRA) and in Class B, Manaia (DEU) a Lagoon 421. “It’s unbelievable, with just the two of us on our boat. We never imagined that we could be the winners, with our small Lagoon catamaran,” said owners Stephen and Silva.

A full list of sailing results is available for download here.

Dismasted yacht

Rally participants nominated Aequitas (GBR), Northern Light II (GBR) and Aratui (NZL) for offering support to Hilma (SWE) when the boat was dismasted.

Hilma safely motored back to Cape Verde. The owners Henrik and Lotta will be sharing their experience with PBO readers in the April edition of the magazine, along with other resourceful sailors, including double-handers Claire and Malcolm Wallace onboard Aqualuna, who lost one of their forestays, but still managed to win an award for the best boat log submitted to the ARC+ website!

Lost Abbey (CYM) was recognised for the moral support offered to Aegle (GBR) when the latter suffered a damaged gooseneck and had to motor for 215 hours.

Nominated by fellow participants, the ‘Spirit of the ARC+ Rally’ was awarded to the Griffiths family on Rapier 550 Blue Wonder (GBR). Paul Tetlow introduced the award:

“Despite having a busy time looking after their young children, Ryan and Audrey have shown time for others, shared advice and knowledge and enthusiastically participated in shoreside events. As a family, they have demonstrated the spirit of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – safer and more enjoyable long-distance cruising in the great company of others.”

Receiving the award, Audrey Griffith said: “I feel like it’s not deserved, but it’s so amazing, thank you. We certainly didn’t expect this. I reckon that’s the best prize of all. We will do it again, 100% it is the best event ever, it’s so good. Thank you so much.”

Finish 3 minutes apart!

A range of additional awards recognised people and boats. The closest finish was won by Vivace (NDL) and Enja (AUT) who finished just 3 minutes 4 seconds apart on 02 December.

The most beautiful yacht was awarded to Rustler 44 Galatea of Aune (GBR). “She’s gorgeous; a classic and she’s a pretty boat, we just love her,” said owner Andrew Norton.

Blue Pearl (GBR) and Nuvem Magica (FRA) were recognised for running the SSB net and WhatsApp at sea, the social glue that maintains the fleet camaraderie. Look out for their top tips in the March issue of PBO, where we feature an 8pp article on transatlantic kit.

There were also prizes for the eight double-handed crews and six family crews, and certificates for each of the 44 children.

Last arrival

Nintey one yachts finished the rally before the prizegiving, with the last arrival, Bavaria 37 Pikea (SWE) making landfall on the morning of the ceremony after 19 days from Cape Verde.

Alskada (GBR) is still at sea following a delayed departure from Cape Verde and is due to finish on 15 December. The yacht will still receive the traditional ARC+ dockside welcome and basket of Grenadian goodies when on arrival in Port Louis Marina.

Two yachts diverted to other Caribbean islands, and Hilma (SWE) returned to Cape Verde after dismasting.

ARC+ 2024

The next edition of the rally will set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 10 November 2024. Numbers are limited by capacity in the host marinas, and the rally is almost fully booked. More information available here.