Adding some of the ARC 2013 photos

These keep arriving.........my guess is that the Amsterdam trip was a reminder! Tks John!

So if you go back into the daily log  further down the blog you can see quite a few scenes from the crossing and there are some new ones  in Ocean -ARC Rally too.

Here is Nick, the last man in St Lucia who was able to collect the prize.

Here is Nick, the last man in St Lucia who was able to collect the prize.

Milanto's skipper collects the cup at the Swan Club awards dinner March 6th 2014

What a wonderful setting to Thursday's event : the ClubSwan Awards Dinner together with Saint Petersburg Yacht Club,was  hosted at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam.

The Trans-Atlantic Winners -Skipper Valerio Bardi and most of the crew.

The Trans-Atlantic Winners -Skipper Valerio Bardi and most of the crew.

the National Maritime Museum

the National Maritime Museum

View from the museum over the water to Amsterdam

View from the museum over the water to Amsterdam

The winners of the various categories were invited to collect their cups, and this included Milanto for the Trans-Atlantic following the ARC.

Northern Baltic Cup, the Swan 60s, The trans-Atlantic, best maintained classic swan

Northern Baltic Cup, the Swan 60s, The trans-Atlantic, best maintained classic swan

Lucca Lucheschi giving the cup to Valerio

Lucca Lucheschi giving the cup to Valerio

Good to meet up with old friends, especially for this!

Magical courtyard

Magical courtyard

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Many of the owners from Europe and Russia came to the event and had a fantastic evening hosted by Enrico Cieffi, CEO of Oy Nautor Ab and Vladimir Lubomirov, Commodore of St.Petersberg YC and Gazprom Swan 60 President.

The entertainment was superb as these photos show:

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The impressive cup was donated by Asprey, London  and is now inscribed with Milanto, the second 46' to have won the Trans-Atlantic category. It has to be returned this September so Valerio's ambition to be the first to win the award twice!

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Many thanks to everyone at Nautor Swan for the delightful evening and to my friends John, John, Nick, Karl and Gianni - all played an essential part in wining!

Thanks to NautorSwan Facebook for the photos

Day 18 Dec 11th

Speed: 7.6 knots @ 234.22°

Position at: 11 Dec 2013 12:00 UTC

Lat/Lon: 15° 29.04 N, 059° 3.63 W

DTF: 169.2 NM

3rd in Racing B

150 miles to go. This will be our last day at sea. Another beautiful day for sailing. Big swell, consistent wind and bright clear skies.We make good progress at around 8 knots and still resist putting up the spinnaker that has proven difficult to handle - our first choice spinnaker having been torn early on in the campaign. This afternoon we relaxed on deck and compared beards. Knot tying lessons have been suspended and fishing was aborted after a suspected Marlin ripped through our lure. Spirits are high.

62 miles to go. Our estimated arrival time is around 1:00 am Thursday 12th.

After 16 days at sea during which the Milanto has seen us through high winds and high seas and through which it has been impossible to stand upright without hanging off the grab rails or any other anchor point, we wonder how we will cope with dry land. General consensus is that a Rum shot with a cold beer chaser will sort us out pretty quickly, a remedy endorsed by the ships designated First Aider/Paramedic, who has also doubled up as the ships cocktail mixologist without even a hint of irony.

ension and excitement is building as we await first sight of land. There is also a touch of sadness that our journey together as the crew of Milanto is drawing to a close. Its been a great adventure that has bonded us together in a shared experience.

Next blog will follow after crossing the finishing line, more news about our performance in racing Division 2 and overall position will follow tomorrow.

PS just as darkness was falling upon Milanto, for the last time at sea, we were visited by a pod of 10 Dolphin that played in our bow wave for about 20 mins. What a great way to end our last day at sea !

Tired but extremely happy to have finished.

Tired but extremely happy to have finished.

Day 16 Dec 9th

Speed: 8.5 knots @ 248.93°

Position at: 09 Dec 2013 08:00 UTC

Lat/Lon: 18° 49.80 N, 052° 44.19 W

DTF: 586.2 NM

3rd in Racing B

After a long night of regular short watch changes - to ensure concentration at the helm in difficult sea conditions - the morning started with hoisting our "Mr Norris" spinnaker to maintain our fast boat speed and bring us to St Lucia that bit earlier. With winds anticipated of up to 28 knots, keeping the spinnaker up all day was ambitious, but as long as he was up, we knew we would be progressing as fast as was possible. As it happened, surfing down a 5m Atlantic swell, we kept that over-sized beast of a sail flying all day and hit almost 13 knots several times - fantastic! Our afternoon roller coaster ride ended when the wind and waves suddenly whipped up to throw us first into a Chinese Gybe and then a broach. It was a pretty dramatic moment - we could have lost the mast - but Milanto pulled through and all were hugely relieved.

It was all hands on deck to drop Mr Norris. Two crew members wrestled on the lurching foredeck to pull him down as the wind whipped around, forcing the sail up and away from the boat and almost taking the foredeck crew with it. Despite sailing gloves, the force was too great and rope burns were suffered by both before they got the better of him, bringing him to his knees and forcing him into his bag. That may be the last we see of Mr Norris. He has lost the affection of certain members of the crew who painfully wince at the mere mention of his name. Tonight we will race with 2 head sails and the main and with the wind speed increasing, its unlikley we could go any faster anyway.

With St Lucia now only 2 or so days away, some of the crew are getting itchy feet. We need to maintain concentration at this very important part of the challenge and idle talk about soft white linen sheets, cold beers, proper showers, seeing our better halves, being able to stand up or walk around without having to cling to the wall like bloody spiderman, more cold beers.....needs to be checked.

Eyes on the prize gentlemen. There is still 450 miles of challenging ocean to overcome.