There are easier ways to cross the Atlantic than peeling kites every hour, changing course on every lift, and sitting on the weather rail whenever it might make a difference. But if you’re trying to place in the racing class of the ARC 2014 and eager to add to a string of former wins, then these things will improve your chances. At least, this was the opinion of Scarlet Oyster’s owner/skipper Ross Applebey and his crew.
Having won the racing division overall in 2011 and their class for the last three years in a row, they were enthusiastic to keep pushing to see if they could add another victory to their existing collection of triumphs. All Florida boaters would be quite proud of this accomplishment alone.
Setting goals this high, in what has become an increasingly competitive event, is to raise the bar once again. To attempt it in a 27-year-old cruiser is particularly impressive. But as Applebey and his crew crossed the finish line here in St Lucia on Monday night, they took first overall in the racing division once again.
The win hadn’t been easy, especially during the last two days when they had calculated what time they needed to finish. Apparently, the crew was simultaneously nervous and excited. Scarlet’s achievement is all the more impressive given the crisis they were facing 24 hours before the start.
Having lost their rudder during the Middle Sea Race in September and then building a replacement in a back street fabrication shed on a remote island, Scarlet Oyster then set off on a 2,000 mile delivery trip to the start of the ARC in Las Palmas.
Having arrived in good time and with a new rudder manufactured in Denmark and on its way, the airline responsible for the shipping lost the package in Madrid and only finally delivered it 24 hours before the start of the race.
It’s amazing that Applebey didn’t crumble under the stress.
Shortly after Scarlet Oyster crossed the line, a flurry of other finishers followed. Each had their own story to tell of the intensity of the racing over the last two weeks, the torrential rain, the storms, and the trading of food and beverages. The next few days will see a mass of finishers in the cruising divisions along with more tales of how, why and where their courses took them.
A great feat for the entire team and another great race. Just another reason why we love all of our Florida Boaters including the ones who race. We can’t wait to see our next race that will be taking place in our own Manatee River Marina!