BA pilot snaps brother-in-law sailing 35,000ft below

When Michael Terry set sail across the Atlantic in the ARC+ rally, he had no idea he’d be seen from the cockpit of a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Infinity of Yar sets sail from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Michael was sailing onboard Infinity of Yar, a Hanse 455 skippered by Giles Peckham, when his brother-in-law, a pilot for British Airways, spotted him.

Captain Eldred Curwen was supposed to be flying to Buenos Aires but at the last minute was rescheduled to fly from Heathrow to Santiago, Chile on the four-a-week flight introduced in 2017.

The yacht is seen here from the pilot’s GPS navigation system. Credit: Eldred Curwen

When he realised he would be flying over Michael in the North Atlantic he took a photo.

“I think this is probably the most unusual photo you’ve ever had,” said Michael, as he shared it with PBO and Trish Jenkins of World Cruising Club.

“Eldred had been tracking our progress so he knew it was our boat. We’d switched from sailing our kite at night to sailing white sails for safety, and he’d even commented on that because he recognised that we’d slowed down!”

The photo, which shows a white blob in the centre of blue-grey sky and clouds, could almost be a glare spot, but Captain Eldred provided evidence of his amazing discovery by sharing a picture of the track on his GPS navigation system.

The yacht’s progress can be tracked thanks to satellite navigation. Note the aircraft B787-9 at the bottom

Whilst not likely to appear on the cover of Practical Boat Owner, it is certainly the most unique aerial shot we’ve ever seen!

All ARC yachts carry AIS – automatic identification system – which broadcasts the vessel’s location, identity, course and speed information. This is picked up by ground stations and satellites so the vessels are trackable anywhere on the ocean.

PBO was in Las Palmas on November 5th to wave off the ARC+ yachts and is now in Grenada to greet them. You can watch Infinity of Yar and many other monohulls and multihulls making their way to the startline in the video below.

Most of the 95 yachts have now completed the second leg of their transatlantic voyage, arriving to big cheers and a rum punch on the docks in Port Louis Marina, Grenada.

Every entrant in the rally has a YB tracker so friends and family can track them on the YB Races app of the fleet viewer on the rally website

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