Barbados or Bust - ARC Rally 1987

I just posted this video:

It's a documentary about a three families crossing the Atlantic in the ARC Rally of 1987. There was an American family, a British family and an Australian family. We were the Australian family.

Thurston family highlights:

  • 4:20
  • 6:47
  • 20:12
  • 21:13
  • 37:20
  • 44:04
  • 48:03
  • 49:05

Spoilers below

The Lopez family were the Americans and whilst we lost touch for a while we reconnected with them 11 years later in 1998 when their boat, Bucephalus, was coming into an anchorage (probably Blue Lagoon) in Fiji. My dad called up the skipper and said he used to know the old owner, George. Turned out George was still the owner.

We had already planned to join my dad in Fiji for holidays and we ended up reconnecting with the Lopez family including Diana, Nick and Chris. I remember Nick and Chris being two typical Californian kids with gym bodies and chains. Nick was certainly cocky and a bit of a hot head and Chris was more gentle and quiet.

We sat around and watched the documentary again and it became somewhat of a tradition over the years as we met up with them again a few times when we took Pacific holidays.

We're still in touch with them all. Diana passed away several years ago and we all miss her a lot. She was such a quiet, gracious and gentle woman who truly cared about people. George's company, ICU Medical, went from strength to strength but it was no doubt a roller-coaster. It went public and I think it has a market cap of US$500M. George stepped down from day-to-day management not long ago.

He's as ambitious and competitive as ever and even went on to claim the US free diving record. I think what the documentary didn't truly capture though is that George is a really compassionate guy deep down and cares about people.

Nick is working for ICU as well and, being much like his father, is smashing it in sales. Chris works at ICU, too, and last I remember was making moulds in the tech side of the company.

We never kept in touch with the British family so we have no idea what they're doing. Jimmy Cornell who you see towards the beginning has kept building in the sailing arena. The ARC is still going and he's got a line of cruising guides, speaks 7 languages and probably has more business concerns happening now than you can count on two hands.

His son, Ivan Cornell, studied computer science and has built, a super useful website for sailors to get cruising information.

I've thought about doing a "where are they now?" blog post on everyone in the documentary. I think that would be fun as well as interesting to everyone the ARC has touched over the years. In any event, enjoy the video and my brief cameos :).