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Finishing the ARC

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

19 December 14:12 Champagne Hippy crossed the finish line in Rodney Bay, St Lucia. The 13th boat to cross the line and the first Oyster to finish. We had done it, against the odds. Just three months earlier the boat still had no engine room or saloon, or any of the power units installed. In fact the keel only went on the last weekend of August and the boat only hit the water for the first time since the rebuild on 4th October, just 7 weeks before the start of the ARC.

It was a success for everyone involved, from the build team back at the yard in Essex, to the crew who raced it across the Atlantic.

Champagne Hippy is now on charter in the Caribbean for the season (drop me a line if you are interested in chartering her). I then fly back out to Antigua to pick her up and sail her back to the Mediterranean to go on charter there for the summer.

We will be back for the ARC 2020 and we still have places (again drop me a line if you are interested), but for me it is back racing on Panther in the Caribbean 600 and the Heineken Cup in St Martin.

Getting ready for another Trans-Atlantic

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

Well here we go again, getting ready to fly out to St Lucia to join Champagne Hippy for a final trip back across the Atlantic before she goes to a new owner in Majorca.

It looks like there will only be 5 of us onboard, Myself, Jake as first mate and (brilliant) engineer, Lee and Guy and we will have Kat looking after us on the crossing.

This may well be my last crossing on Hippy as the new owner currently has no plans to take her back to the Caribbean. In the meantime I have my own boat to deal with – Karelia, a Farr designed beneteau 50 which is currently in Greece. More on this as the story onboard unfolds.

If you want to follow us across the Atlantic on Champagne Hippy, I will as always have my trusty Yellow Brick satellite tracker running. We plan to leave around 17/18 April and it should take about 3 weeks.

To follow us go to

Half way across

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

After a very slow and frustrating first week, we wanted to be amongst the most southerly of the fleet, and that is where we found ourselves. The plan being to keep going south until we picked up the trade winds which would then propel us westwards. They were slow coming but after a week we were well on our way and working our way through the fleet. Our goal was to be the first Oyster across the finish line in St Lucia.

The trip wasn’t without issues. We had a problem with the autopilot when it got wet and stopped working. I was having flashbacks to my around the world record attempt on Pixel Flyer. We managed to get a workaround for it and continued on our way.

At the half way mark we decided to celebrate and have a proper naming ceremony for the boat, with Champagne of course. This boat is so different from the out and out racer Pixel Flyer, with fridges and freezers, air conditioning and an ice maker!

Nick and James were loving the competition with the other boats and every 6 hours we would be checking the tracker website to see how we were doing against the other boats. Dot watching was getting pretty addictive!

In Las Palmas at last

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

We finally arrived in Las Palmas early morning the day before the start. We had a very busy 24 hours ahead of us. As well as finish the boat build, we had to remove all the extra kit we had with us and start getting the boat into race/trans-Atlantic mode.

Ready to go at last. After filling the fuel tanks and getting the last of the building kit off the boat, we left Las Palmas an hour and a half late for the start, but with almost 3000 miles ahead of us to the Caribbean we were not too worried.

Onward to the Atlantic…

Pit-stop in Plymouth

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

As we headed down the channel, there was increasing bad weather out to the west, so we decided to stop in Plymouth and wait for the weather to pass. While it gave the guys time to crack on with the building below decks, time was ticking on towards the start of the ARC and the weather in Biscay shows no let up for a week.

Eventually the weather cleared and we were able to head off, we didn’t have time for any more overnight stops if we were going to make the start in time.

sailing boom beam ropes sunset

Getting to the Start of the ARC

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

Time was running out to finish Champagne Hippy and we needed to start heading south if we were going to make the start of the ARC race in Gran Canaria. So very early morning on Thursday 7th November we slipped lines from a frosty Essex marina and headed down the river to the sea. Conditions were nice and calm and we motored all the way towards Ramsgate by which time the wind had filled in and we could unfurl the sails for the very first time.

start of the arc sailing

With a chop saw screwed to the cockpit table, the team continued working to finish the boat as we sailed along the south coast.

Follow the story and more on Patreon. There you can watch all the videos of the rebuild of Champagne Hippy as well as the Solo Around the World record attempt on Pixel Flyer.

fast hosts sailing arc