Whenever the ARC pitched its tent in Las Palmas, Elaine Bunting was sure to be there ready on the dockside at the Muelle Deportivo. Even back in the days of Jimmy Cornell, she represented the straightforward and unpretentious link between sailors who had already taken the plunge and set sail and their countless counterparts back home for whom a rear view of Las Palmas remained a more or less distant dream. Elaine understood implicitly that nothing – nothing – is more valuable to sailors still in the planning phase than real, practical experience.
The Bluewater Seminars that Elaine launched together with Jimmy, which have now become a permanent fixture of all World Cruising events, probably seemed like an obvious next step against this background. It was also she who first came up with the idea of the Atlantic Gear Test (see ARC survey pt 1 here: ARC survey pt 1), which analyses the responses to questionnaires drawn up by Elaine that are presented to every ARC participant for diligent completion during the crossing. The information gleaned from this survey helped Elaine keep her finger on the pulse of the bluewater community, whose hands-on knowledge she has been tracking for decades. The Atlantic Gear Test is undoubtedly the most comprehensive practical examination of its kind in the world: pooling the findings of 230 yachts crossing from Europe to the Caribbean, it represents the experience of hundreds of thousands of nautical miles sailed. The test is updated every year.
Elaine Bunting has left an indelible mark on Yachting World and I have no doubt she will continue to make a unique contribution to its development when she takes over from David Glenn on 1 April 2014.
I am particularly pleased, I might add, to see a woman’s hand take the wheel at such a prominent institution in the traditionally male-dominated world of the British marine industry.
Peter Foerthmann more