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Atlantic Rally for Cruisers - Persephone conquers in remarkable form

by Susan Rainger on 14 Dec 2012
Persephone arriving in St. Lucia - 2012 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) © Tim Wright / Photoaction.com http://www.photoaction.com
In the 2012 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), husband and wife, Nigel and Karen Goodhew have not only fulfilled their dream of crossing the Atlantic on their Sigma 38, Persephone of London, but have done it in remarkable form. Persephone, one of the soon to be 25 years old Sigma 38 fleet has finished fourth in the ARC Racing Division B, fifth in Combined Racing, crossing in 16 days, 7 hours and 4 minutes.

Nigel, Karen and the rest of the crew, Gavin Bowen, Rich Parry and Michael Robson were always odds on favourites for a fast crossing. Persephone, winner of the 2011 Fastnet and the tough 2007 Fastnet during which the majority of the fleet retired, is always a tenacious competitor. However when the ARC start for cruising classes was postponed due to heavy weather the chances for this experienced crew in the hardy Sigma 38 improved still further as the Goodhews elected to set off as scheduled in the racing division.

The Sigma 38 was specifically developed to undertake tough offshore conditions. In 1985 the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Royal Thames Yacht Club agreed to sponsor a new One Design cruiser racer which would be built to deal with long distance races.

Proposals were put forward to some of the top yachtsmen of the day and David Thomas, one of Britain’s most prolific yacht designers, won with a majority vote. Hence the tough, endearing, British designed and built Sigma 38 was born. The Sigma 38 is now well into her second decade but few cruising boats of this length are as fast, comfortable and safe no matter what the weather gods hurl at her.

The ARC is a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and attracts over 200 boats and 1200 people every year to sail 2800 NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to St Lucia. Persephone, one of the smallest boats in the racing divisions, did not have it easy as their communication links including vital weather updates failed before they even got half way. However they were literally urged to the finish line by the rest of the Sigma 38 class watching the tracker and following regular updates on the Sigma 38 Facebook page.

Now for some sunny, warm, Caribbean cruising; Nigel and Karen’s two sons Tim and Ollie, who regularly race on Persephone, are flying over to join the beloved family boat. Well done, Persephone, another Sigma 38 triumph for the record book, time to enjoy a rum punch or two!

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