ARC blizzard of controversy: but what’s the point of motor racing?


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schermata-2016-12-19-a-13-22-16“What are you willing to do to win a prize in the regatta.”, the editors of Yachting World ask, “do you feel up to sailing for days on end accompanied by the annoying mumbling of the diesel engine, making everyone else believe that you are sailing propelled by your ‘personal breeze’? Do you also expect your crew to lie to back up your argument?”. These would be rhetorical questions among sportsmen; the answer would be a NO in capital letters. But the conditional is a must, because it is a real fact that prompted our British colleagues to ask the question. (image source

schermata-2016-12-19-a-13-19-40THE ARC’S “MUFFLERS”
Heavy accusations flew at this year’s ARC: allegations that boats used the engine by not declaring it, just to get ahead of others. In the “Cruising” division of the world’s most famous Atlantic regatta/crossing (2,700 miles from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay in St. Lucia in the Caribbean), where crews often consist of families with children, participants can turn on their engines for propulsion, just by declaring their total engine hours upon arrival. The penalty varies depending on the weather conditions encountered during the crossing, and its coefficient is not made public until the end, but it is known that in 99% it favors “strategic demoting” during flat calms. This edition experienced lighter winds than usual, so extensive use was made of the engine by the entire fleet of less “racing” boats: there would be no sea nothing too bad that it seems that many have declared many fewer hours than they should. Just think that at the ARC+ (Cape Verde to Saint Lucia) the boat that won in real time in its category declared 5 engine hours but the dockside rumors talking about 11 days of “demotoring”! Without anyone making an official protest to the Race Committee, however, nothing can be done, and the “smart ones” get away with it.

Assuming that not reporting such acts makes one somewhat complicit
, we question whether this really makes sense. Spending a boatload of money to participate in a regatta that remains challenging(one boat even sank this year), which for many is a lifelong dream, and soiling it with stupidly dishonest behavior. Dear “mufflers,” have a crossing of your own (why not call it AREU, Atlantic Rally for Engine Users, Atlantic Rally for Inboard Users?) and don’t try to cheat those who really want to sail!

As for the bluebirds who participated in the ARC, of particular note are the victory of the Swan 90 Woodpeckercube in Cruising A, of the Beneteau 50 Bear by Mariano Berlendis in Cruising D (third overall in Cruising), of the GS 50 Bluetangos Two by Federico De Lisi in Cruising E. And still the third place of theHallberg Rassy 48 Falabrach by Philip Fermé In Cruising F.



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