Published: Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Rambler 88 of George David crossed Atlantic Rally for Çruisers (ARC) finish line in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia at 15:14:15 local time (19:14:15 UTC) on Monday Nov 28 to break the ARC course record, which was broken for a fourth consecutive year. The regatta started on Nov 20.

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(Photos: Jeremy Wyatt / ARC - Rambler 88)

This edition of ARC was participated by over 200 boats, which departed Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain. Rambler 88, designed by Juan K., claimed the record among many previous record holders including VO70 Trifork.

In 2015, Team Brunel sailed 3343.3nm based on the YB track at an average speed of 16.8 knots. Beating its previous time by 1h 10 minutes and 15 seconds, the new course record now stands at 8d 6h 29m 15s. Winds have been lighter than last year, but Rambler 88 took advantage of a small depression which formed mid-Atlantic soon after the start, enabling the boat to sail a very northerly route and then have a fast reach down to Saint Lucia. Rambler 88 have sailed approximately 270nm less than Team Brunel, which was a crucial factor for this year's lighter wind crossing.

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A year ago VO65 Team Brunel claimed the title from Farr 100 Leopard by Finland. Mike Slade's super-maxi had taken over two days off the previous record set by Caro on board a Knierim 65 in 2013. A growing tradition of sleek, high-tech racing yachts joining the ARC seems to have developed, with the rally offering a different environment to sail these impressive machines from the pro-racing circuits. This was the first time sailing in the ARC for Rambler 88

"It's been a really good experience dealing with the organisers of the ARC,” comments Project Manager Mick Harvey. “Everyone is very helpful and it's quite an eye-opener for someone coming from the racing side, which can be quite combative. George David, Rambler 88's Owner, really wanted to join in with the ARC because he enjoys transatlantic crossings and scheduling-wise, this worked well.

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“I think every time we go out there with this boat there's an opportunity to break the record, but the conditions at the start of this race didn't look like they were going to be indicative of breaking the record at all. In Las Palmas, the fastest it looked was maybe eight days, maybe, and it could easily have been as long as nine or 10 days. Luckily they managed to hook into a couple of good systems initially and then they were off and running."

"Once we set off, we were confident we could make the crossing in eight days, but the record was less certain, right up until we crossed the finish line really,” he says. “Two squalls came across us in the morning bringing torrential downpours but no wind so that slowed us down even more. Given the challenges this year, we are thrilled to have broken the record!"

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Rambler 88 was warmly welcomed upon its arrival in Saint Lucia. One of the reasons for the cheers was that the yacht was the first under the ARC banner to reach Rodney Bay in 2016.

Sailing from Mindelo in the Cape Verde, the winning team had a shorter distance of 2,090nm for the second leg of their Atlantic crossing, and departed on Wednesday Nov 16, four days ahead of the ARC boats sailing 27,000nm directly from Gran Canaria.