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Tortola, BVI: ARC Europe and ARC USA is underway

By Noah D. last modified May 11, 2017 03:25 PM
ARC Europe 2017 and ARC USA 2017 departed together on 6 May 2017 in excellent downwind conditions. Forty-one sailing yachts and one motor yacht departed Nanny Cay in the British Virgin Islands. Most of the yachts are heading to Bermuda to take part in the lead-up to the 35th America's Cup before sailing to their respective ports.

Published: 2017-05-11 15:25:28
Topics: Rallies
Countries: Azores , Bermuda , British Virgin Islands , Portugal , USA

Two ocean cruising rallies hosted by the World Cruising Club departed Tortola, BVI, on March 6, 2017. The ARC Europe and ARC USA are run concurrently and take many crews homeward or to new cruising grounds.

Both rallies depart from Nanny Cay, Tortola.

Course Options

The east-to-west course of ARC Europe first takes crews northward to Bermuda. In Bermuda, crews will spend an extended stop-over while the America’s Cup preparations are underway there. They will then depart on 17 May for their 1800nm Atlantic Crossing to the Azores. Yachts will cruise for two weeks through the Azores archipelago before arriving to Portugal or other Northern European ports. The final gathering and awards ceremony will be in Lagos, Portugal, on 18 June.

The ARC USA rally crews have two options. One option takes crews on a southern route via the Old Bahamas Channel to join the Gulf Stream north of Cuba and to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A second option is to bypass the Bahamas to the north and sail all the way to Bermuda, then due west to arrive in Portsmouth, Virginia, or other East Coast ports.

Twenty-six yachts are participating in the ARC Europe this year. Sixteen yachts are participating in the ARC USA: eleven are sailing the Bermuda route, and five are sailing the Old Bahamas Channel route. The yachts heading for Bermuda will take approximately five to seven days to arrive.

The departure from Nanny Cay saw 15-18 knots from the east under blue skies: ideal downwind conditions.

Familiar Faces & New Friends

ARC Europe and ARC USA fleets departed at the same time and, leading the fleet, British-flagged Pure Elegance (Dufour 560) was followed by Yoda and Franny B. They were soon caught by the smallest boat in the fleet, Anakin, a Comfortina 32.

Amongst the fleet are several from ARC's past, including four boats returning to the USA after sailing to the Caribbean with the ARC Caribbean 1500 last November, and eight boats from 2016 editions of ARC and ARC+. Also within the group was John and Joyce Easteal of Starblazer, one of the last to head out of Nanny Cay. They have been part of the ARC family since 2009, first sailing an Atlantic circuit and then going on to circumnavigate with World ARC from 2014-2016. Last year, they joined ARC USA to explore America's east coast, but they have final turned for home and ARC Europe will be their swan song before moving ashore.

There is one motor yacht taking part this year, a Nordhaven 57 named Jura.

Onboard Communications

The crews can keep in touch whilst at sea on an SBB radio net, and each day they'll receive position reports and routed weather forecasts from World Cruising Club's Rally Control. Each yacht is also fitted with a satellite YB Tracker so those on land can follow the fleet online via the Fleet Viewer website or YB app.

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Set in one of the finest and most central locations in the BVI, Nanny Cay is located on the South side of Tortola, between the capital Roadtown and West End. We are proud to provide the very best marine services and facilities possible in what after all is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world today.