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ARC Report - Rigs & Rigging

With the strong winds of this years ARC there were a number of breakages in the rigging department. On board the good ship Distant Shores II we were lucky and had no major problems. Our biggest problem was with the boom preventer I had rigged up, which was not up to the job...

Boom Preventer
I installed this U-Bolt fitting in the rail (to the left) to allow us to run a preventer back to the cockpit. Good idea but not quite strong enough and not quite far enough forward to get a good angle.

We spent 14 days of the 15 day crossing sailing downwind and only jibed once. We were sailing with reefed main and the genny out on the pole when we got a gust of nearly 40 knots. A large wave smacked the stern around and this coincided with the gust so we rounded up and backed the jib. Trying to get back on course we overcorrected and that’s when we jibed! The preventer took a mighty strain and did actually prevent the boom swinging all the way across.

You can see the U-Bolt is bent, the shackle pin is banana shaped and the block shattered leaving only the stainless centre pin holding the line.

The problem was I hadn’t rigged the preventer far enough forward to get a good angle. We re-rigged it to the forward cleat and it was fine for the rest of the crossing.

Not everyone was so lucky. A number of boats suffered breakages due to jibing. Our neighbour very nearly lost their mast when they jibed and broke their upper spreader, upper shroud and boomvang. The rest of the crossing was done under double reefed main alone!

Booms and Boomvangs
A number of boats broke their boomvangs, and/or broke their booms or boom-gooseneck fittings. Many had damage to their downwind pole. One boat was dismasted and diverted to the Cape Verde Islands. But looking at it another way... 230 boats started off on a journey of almost 3000 miles. That’s 690,000 sea miles to be travelled in total. With strong conditions for much of the crossing, it was a good test of equipment and preparation. Only a few boats retired back to the Canaries or to the Cape Verde Islands. The ARC recorded the fastest overall average time in recent memory, and most of the boats are now enjoying a Caribbean Christmas!

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