The Italian owner of the NEEL 47 Minimole loves regattas and challenges. After having won the ARC + (the Rally Atlantic for Cruisers) in 2019 between the islands of Cape Verde and Saint Lucia in the West Indies, in all categories, he climbs on the podium again on December 9th last year by finishing 3rd in the ARC 2020 (Canary Islands – Saint Lucia).
We contacted the skipper of the boat, Patrick Phélippon, from La Rochelle, who answered our questions :
Why did you run the ARC after the ARC+ ?
After winning the ARC+ last year, there was a great desire for the owner to face more advanced opponents in the ARC category. The ARC+ had given Aldo Fumagalli so much satisfaction and pleasure in 2019 that he entered the ARC 2020 despite a complicated general situation due to the Covid-19.
What were the rankings prédictions ?
It was difficult to evaluate as we had never had the opportunity to sail with boats more competitive than the NEEL 47, but we were hoping to be in the top 3 in the Multihull class.
How serious were your competitors?
We were in the unique multihull class and there were 15 of us at the start following the quarantine of 2 competitors because of Covid on board.
Among the fast multihulls there were 2 TS42 marsaudons, 1 Outremer 51, 1 Outremer 5X and a NEEL 51.
What were the advantages of a NEEL 47 on this crossing?
They are numerous!
The comfort and simplicity of manoeuvring allow us to do 2-person watches without loss of efficiency.
The large volume of the central hold favours weight centring, which optimises the boat’s movements while sailing.
The functional galley keeps the crew’s morale high, as do the well-separated cabins, which encourage a restorative rest.
Last year we installed a Parasailor which allows the NEEL 47 to go full astern if necessary to stay as close as possible to the direct course.
How did you optimise the boat?
In addition to a new Parasailor we have equipped the boat with several gennakers and a downwind staysail. We have perfected the pitching system and the standard manoeuvres for trimming the headsails. We have also optimised the mainsail sheeting system for better control of the sail leech.
Why did the owner choose a NEEL trimaran?
Aldo Fumagalli was looking for a boat that could both race and cruise for pleasure. He went to various boat shows to see what multihulls were on offer and to find out more. He chose a NEEL trimaran which offered a good compromise between performance and comfort, racing and summer cruising with the family.
Then he chartered a NEEL 45 to ensure his choice. Convinced by the concept and the boat, he bought a NEEL 47 which he is very satisfied with today.