Where did the decision (or determination) to participate in the ARC come from? What was the strongest spring that pushed you, considering also that, like last year, this year too, contrary to expectations, was a bit of a “COVID ARC”.
– The idea of crossing the Atlantic has always fascinated us. For years I had been watching videos of those who had done it and listening to the stories of friends who had had this experience. The ARC seemed to us the most suitable formula for our desire to face the real high ground and the ocean for the first time, and to do so by competing with other boats and crews in a regatta. Covid made us give up in 2020, but when we realized that we would be able to organize ourselves in 2021, we ran to sign up.
Once you made the decision what was the first thing you did?
– In reality, we did two things at the same time: thoroughly study the rules relating to safety equipment and prepare a plan of checks and interventions on the boat to prepare it for more severe conditions than those experienced so far in the Mediterranean.
Preparing a boat for this venture is something that requires a lot of planning and attention. What were the critical factors for you?
– We have paid particular attention to the mast / rigging, which have also been carefully checked with ultrasound analysis to verify their integrity; to the wheelhouse with full inspection and replacement of parts subject to wear, and in general to the entire plant engineering part, which in the event of a break in the ocean would have put us in difficulty, such as sea cocks, overhauled or replaced. We also had some new sails made, designed specifically for the crossing. In practice, the whole boat has undergone a thorough overhaul during the 2020/2021 winter works.
How did you select the crew? In hindsight, would you have made different choices?
– We already knew all the crew members. We had already raced together in the last few years in several offshore and coastal areas. Over the years, a strong harmony has formed and the condition of the spirit that we want in the boat in a regatta: seriousness and commitment, concentration on the result but also serenity, fun, and the ability to accept even the results that leave us a bit of a bitter taste. In 2021, a new member was added to the crew, our strategist and meteorologist, who has an extraordinary experience of the Atlantic, having already done so seven times before this ARC.
You have chosen to tackle this adventure as a couple, as sailing is one of your common passions. What did this experience bring to your couple? Is there any advice you feel like giving?
– This experience has, if possible, increased the desire to experience sailing together! Yoru was designed to be carried in two and we alternate long “double handed” cruises with full crew regattas. The ARC made us take a “leap” that will allow us to dare to go further on a cruise and made us discover in beauty a long coexistence with full crew. They were beautiful and exciting days, to be put into the heritage of common life. Difficult to give advice to other couples. Everyone has their own way!
This year the crossing was particularly hard, with the first days without wind and then with strong winds and confused sea and always very formed. What were the main difficulties you encountered in navigation and what strategies did you put in place to overcome them?
– Yes the weather conditions were difficult, and this surprised us a little. We had been told of a long ride on long waves, weight-bearing gaits and good weather. But this year it did not go that way. We have chosen, in order to reduce the possibility in the first few days of being still in a calm state, of not going south and of touching a depression, anomalous in this season, which was “planted” in the middle of the Atlantic. This also made us go upwind and cross in the first few days, and also take a lot of rain. Then the wind turned to the northeast, and it got stronger, too much, but we started doing very good daily averages. In the second week the wind has always been very strong and the sea challenging for the whole crew, but the sky has become clear and the “ride” to St. Lucia exciting, also because we were gaining positions after positions.
What were the darkest and most beautiful moments?
– The last 24 hours, with strong wind, sea, sun and finally, in the night the sighting of the first lights of the island, the arrival at dawn, were a single exciting moment. The darkest moment was in the night when about 700 miles from the start we had a storm, an important wave and wind even over 40 kt, and Alessandra while resting she flew over the safety nets and injured her forehead. We were afraid and we asked ourselves a little: we could do something
You got an excellent placement (eleventh overol position and third place in cruise class). Are you satisfied with the result? What were your expectations?
– Yes, we are happy with the placement, especially the third in real cruiser, about a hundred, and behind only two boats bigger than us. Yoru’s rating always penalizes us a little in compensation. We knew we could do well, Yoru is a very fast cruising boat and the group is close-knit and of a high standard! We had no reference before the start. We had never faced a regatta like this.
If you could do the race again tomorrow, would you make the same choices again or would you change something?
– We have the desire to do it again in the racer category: we have fun and we like to always aim to improve.
The most important question: how much fun did you have?
– It was wonderful. We sailed in difficult conditions but we didn’t give up on a few aperitifs washed down with champagne. Whenever possible, we listened to blaring music. Yes, we had a lot of fun. The climate on board was splendid. We would leave in the morning.