ARC Parasailor Fan Club keeps on growing!
02 Dec 2010
The ARC Parasailor fan club continues to grow, with more than 30 Parasailors in this year's Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) fleet. The ARC 2010 start was a classic, not just because it was the 25th time it had taken place, but because the wind filled-in to give the 233 yachts a beautiful downwind start. The blue and white Parasailor of Beneteau 57 Fred (NED) took centre stage in front of thousands of spectators ashore and afloat.
The ARC is an unusual sailing event, in that it attracts yachts of all sizes and types, sailed by every type of person. Normal boats that you would see in any European marina, going on an adventure with family and friends as crew. Some sailors are very experienced and may have crossed many oceans, but most are club sailors realising their dream. They choose to cross the Atlantic with the ARC so they can share their experience with other like-minded people; to chat at the ARC happy hour, to swap ideas on the dock, and to meet again in Saint Lucia – "how was it for you?"
Parasailors in the ARC
The ARC isn't really a race, but it does have a start and a finish and each yacht is given a place. Even mild-mannered cruising sailors come over all 'racy' at the start, and most skippers keep a close watch on the 'competition' through the daily position reports, then go and tweak the sails a little bit more. It is these people at the heart of the ARC who have made the move to a Parasailor: cruising sailors who want a little bit more performance, while remaining in full control.
A long downwind passage in ocean conditions can put strain on boat, equipment and crew, but this is where the Parasailor comes into its own. The sail's stability is a great advantage in long swells, reducing the need for constant trimming and reducing chafe. The tradewinds are characterised by line squalls, and again, the Parasailor’s design and robust construction enables crews to deal with squalls with confidence; whether they choose to snuff the sail or to ride the squall.
You can't just sit there though – the whole point of flying a 'kite' is to improve boat speed, and the way to do this is to steer an optimum course and trim the sails. In mid Atlantic a four hour watch can be a little tedious, so what better than to trim your Parasailor, watching how the boat speed numbers improve and moving ever-closer to your Caribbean destination.
This year there are more than 30 Parasailors in the ARC, on yachts as diverse as Moody 336 Tigris (GBR), and Oyster 655 Neki (USA), and four of the ARC's 15 catamarans. Catamaran Mojomo is back for a second ARC, again sporting their distinctive black Parasailor with a white skull and cross-bones. The ARC's only all-ladies team, mother and daughters Patricia, Jillian and Alice Darling, chose a Parasailor for their Southerly 42 RST, Triple D.
ISTEC on hand to help
The ISTEC support for Parasailor owners begins well before the ARC start. New sails are cleared through Customs and personally delivered by the ISTEC team, saving owners many frustrating hours waiting for deliveries or travelling to the airport. The ISTEC dealers and headquaters team are available for all Parasailor owners to ask questions about rigging and trim, and even to get afloat for sailing training.
One sail training excerise this year saw Matt Steadman, Mojomo's owner, leap over the side while the catamaran was sailing at 6 knots. His plan was to test the new crew's ability to cope with a man-overboard emergency while sailing with the Parasailor. Luckily for Matt, the crew had the sail doused and were turning back under motor within a minute, proving that they could tame the big sail when needed.
Its not just sailing...
After the work onboard is done, there is nothing a crew likes more than to kick back with a beer and chat with fellow sailors. Parasailor's ARC Happy Hour in Las Palmas provided just the right ambience (and beer!) for more than 300 ARC sailors to get together and talk about sails and sailing. "Can you get one for me too please?"