NARC Update

High winds and seas made for difficult crossing conditions.

Riot

Riot safely in port in Bermuda.Courtesy of Bernews.com

Many of the boats in the North American Rally to the Caribbean (NARC) have experienced a rough crossing due to a nor'easter that came off of the Carolina coast last week that produced 40-knot winds and large seas. The situation offshore is not improving this week as the late-season Tropical Storm Sean makes its way toward Bermuda.

The faster boats made it in over the weekend, experiencing a fairly quick passage from Newport, Rhode Island, which is where the rally left from on November 1. However, several boats are still out there including Island Packet 380 Triple Stars, which is experiencing autopilot problems, Arctic Rose, Song, Tahawus, Patriot, and_ Bella Luna_.

The crew of Elle, a Beneteau 461, abandoned ship on Sunday after the weather took its toll on both boat and crew. The four crewmembers were rescued by the container ship Oleander, which was enroute to Bermuda. You can read more about the rescue at and you can hear part of Elle's conversation with Bermuda Radio at .

Upon approach to St. George's, Bermuda, Riot, an Orion 50 ketch, experienced steering failure; here is an update from their Facebook page:

"thanks to everyone for following our trip! it started out great, first day flew the geneker all day and shredded! the next day and a half there was no wind until we got through the gulf stream where it proceeded to blow 25-40. That 40 kts stayed with us until we arrived in bermuda and its still ripping. unfortunately it was 40 kts just off our bow so we ripped with just the stay sail averaging a...bout 5.5 kts. it was everything but uneventful, we lost steering in three different ways, first our cable had too much slack so we had to make a minor repair to counter that. a couple of hours later the chain in the steering pedestal snapped which left us using the varnished emergency tiller. we rigged up a system so we could drive the tiller from the primary winches in the cockpit and it worked great, didnt have to touch anything for 12 hours. after getting knocked below our course, we furled the staysail and started the engine. with all of the heeling and rocking with the 20-25 ft waves, air snuck into the fuel lines and the engine stalled out. after bleeding the lines, we were trucking again with about 70 miles to go. around 2 am on sunday, coleman and ryan were on watch and witnessed a gust of 55 kts, which tore the dodger off the boat and launched it towards them. we removed it and the bimini and gave it to the ocean as a gift before it could injure us. as we approached st george's harbor at 4 am on monday, the tiller snapped at the base and we narrowly missed the rock entrance. we motored out to sea with 3 crews members wrestling with the 5 inches of tiller left and dropped our anchor. 20 mins later as we were all down below and starting to calm down, we heard a snap and the anchor and chain were gone. with no more chain or line to use, we motored back and forth at the entrance to the harbor waiting for the pilot vessel to escort us in. with 4 failed attempts all resulting in snapped tow lines, they tried to side tow us which we told them was a terrible idea. they proceeded to cause a considerable amount of damage to RIOT so we decided to rig up a similar system that we had used before the tiller broke. we stuck it in there and succesfully made it into the harbor! lets just say everyone was quite pleased to be securely tied to a dock! we'll keep you updated with our damage list and repair schedule, but it looks like we will be in bermuda until we get atleast our steering situation settled. not the worst place to be stuck in!"

Continue to follow the rest of the fleet at http://www.hawketracking.org/narc/files/tracking.htm