World ARC veteran shares valuable insights after over 53,000 offshore miles

The “secret weapon”

I’m still buzzing about my recent participation in the inaugural ARC Baltic that brought me to fascinating/exotic/historic cruising destinations in Sweden, Estonia, and St. Petersburg, Russia, during the bright, bright nights of a high-latitude summer.

But as the days get shorter, I’m even more grateful for the people I met—like Hans Hansell. He not only played an integral part in planning and the successful execution of the inaugural ARC Baltic (his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49 was also the “lead boat” for the rally), but he’s also a highly experienced world cruiser who completed a circumnavigation aboard his boat Workin’ on a Dream as part of the World ARC in 2013. And he was kind enough to answer my questions—about the World ARC and his boat—and share all of the photos below as well.

The start of the World ARC in St. Lucia

Hans grew up in Sweden sailing on the Baltic, but he was soon sailing over the horizon to destinations on the North Sea, the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. And when his professional career as a trade expert took him to the United Nations and Geneva, he cruised the western Mediterranean for 15 years.

When Hans retired from the UN, he and his daughter Hanna decided to circumnavigate as part of the 2012-13 World ARC.

Big seas in the Pacific

Hans appreciated all the preparations for the World ARC including the seminars organized by the World Cruising Club. And he invested in both satellite communication (Iridium) and SSB in order to ensure access to weather information (GRIB files and weather charts) as well as almost daily emails to family at home.

The Needles

He’d never sailed the distances that some of the passages between destinations required in the World ARC, but he’d sailed and raced since childhood and found his racing experience was excellent prep for long-distance cruising. Precise sail trim comes automatically to him and it really made a difference in his daily runs.

The Sun Odyssey 49 was well-suited to an around-the-world trip.
“Trade wind sailing was a new to us,” he says. “But we quickly learned how to set the boat up. We poled out the jib and kept it in place with down haul and a spinnaker sheet that’s run through the end of the pole to minimize chafing. This allowed us to adjust the jib sail area as necessary with the furler without needing to touch the pole, and proved to be an excellent solution in heavy weather.”
Hanna in the Galapagos

“We enjoyed the friendly competition on the World ARC and our secret weapon was a small and heavy conventional spinnaker that we carried even in very fresh conditions. It gave us excellent daily runs with speeds exceeding the theoretical hull speed.”

The not-so-secret weapon

“I prefer the traditional spinnaker to asymmetric sails in that it is more effective in angles above than 135 degrees, even if it is little more work to set it up. One of the main advantages of the Sun Odyssey 49 is that she has an excellent performance and, in particular, in heavy downwind conditions she is very stable and has no tendency for broaching. So we exploited this advantage and let the heavy spinnaker stay up even through some squalls, thus making good daily runs.”

“I choose the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49 for its sailing characteristics as well as its overall layout. The cockpit is excellent for sailing and it is nice and roomy for social occasions. However, I slept on the saloon settee, using a lee cloth, at sea because the fore cabin with its island berth (as with most modern yachts) isn’t comfortable at sea.”

Hans at the helm

“My boat is built the traditional way with beams and stringers, which I am very happy about. She always felt solid. And after our return I have been all over the boat to check for any fatigue or stress cracks and I’ve not found any leakage from hull or deck!

“The rig and the rigging has been fine, however, I had to repair the gooseneck several times. I also had to replace the original furler.

St Helena’s famous steps

“My Hydra Net (Dynema woven into Dacron) main has worked very well and is still going strong while the jib finally needs to be replaced after over 40,000 nautical miles of hard use!”

Hans can attest to the fact that Philip Briand has designed a very good-looking boat that is a nice performance cruiser. “I am very happy with the boat” he says. And he ends quite mater-of-factly by saying, “The boat has now covered more than 53,000 nautical miles without any problems.”

There’s really no better praise than that.

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