23 year old wins ARC - again

Ross Daniel victorious in Spirit of Diana

Monday December 9th 2002, Author: Alexa Lyon-Dean, Location: Transoceanic
Formula 1 Sailing’s skipper, Ross Daniel, 23, was quietly thrilled as they crossed the finish line first, on Farr 65 Spirit of Diana, for the second time in a row – a first for an ARC skipper. There has been a bit of a head to head against Spirit of Juno, one of Diana’s sister ships, for the middle section of the race with the two yachts within sight of each other before Diana pulled away to leave Juno many miles behind

Congratulating his amateur charter crew, Daniel said, “They really worked together as a team and gave it all they had and had great fun too – a real set of characters. Having no problems with the yacht during the crossing really helps” reflected Ross, “leaves you free to concentrate on tactics and that has obviously paid off – though we did have a big old broach in a ‘turbo squall’.As in previous years, staying high and waiting for the wind to come round meant we had good angles nearly all the way across”. He added that it was a shame that they hadn’t beaten the course record, set in 2001 on Diana, but concurred that this would have quite a feat! He congratulated his first Mate, Jessica Dahlgren, a relatively new addition to the F1S team, who has really proved herself on this crossing.

Ross Daniel’s star is most certainly in the ascendant. Setting a new ARC record in December 2001, he followed this up with success in the Caribbean, winning the racer–cruiser class of the Caribbean Big Boat Series. With this second win in a row in the ARC, Ross is now heading to Sydney to hopefully add a top 5 position for the Sydney-Hobart, before flying back to the US in time for Key West Week.

On his return to the UK after the Caribbean season,he’ll be racing in another classic – the Rolex Fastnet and chasing a top 5 place for that as well! After all that it is decision time for Daniel; he’s got to make a choice whether to go down the path towards single-handed sailing and look to the ultimate challenge of a Vendee Globe, or stay in a similar role as he has currently with Formula 1 Sailing, and consider applying to skipper in the Global Challenge or the Clipper Round the World Race. His other option is to go for the top echelons of the professional team racing world. Just about to turn 24, there is plenty of time for this young man to really make his mark as a great British sailor in coming years.

The charter crew on Spirit of Diana included Hampshire based Jon Fay, who has raced with Ross for the last three years in the ARC, as well as a number of his friends. Charlie Hughes has been entertaining readers of the F1S website with off the wall reports from the yacht.

Sarah & Gareth Jones, a couple who won places for the Heineken Cup in 2002 with F1S at the London Boat Show in January, and have now come back for the ARC. Inge van den Bussche, a Belgian lady, whose partner is on Spirit of Minerva and who is famous for the amazing longevity of her nail polish plus many more characters.

As soon as they are in and the yacht all cleaned up, Ross will be flying off to Sydney to race the Sydney-Hobart race starting on Boxing Day. Philip Gannon, a.k.a Beast, one of the Diana’s crew will be going with him. They’ll be joining Alex Thomson and a further 12 amateur crew on Sydney 60 Eureka.

Formula 1 Sailing has sent three Farr 65s over in the ARC, organised by the World Cruising Club and it‘s been a great experience for the crew on all the yachts. Spirit of Junoskippered by Rory Gillard, cam across the line 3rd and Spirit of Minervafinished 6th over the line and 5th in the racing classwith her slightly younger and less experienced crew under the expert guidance of Dee Caffari, formerly skipper of Group 4, the Challenge 67.

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