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TransAtlantic Rally: The first ARC+ sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

By World Cruising Club — last modified Nov 12, 2013 01:47 PM
The first ARC+ set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, bound for Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands on Sunday 10 November. A brisk north Easterly wind provided great sailing conditions for a downwind start and a swift departure for the first part of their Atlantic crossing. 43 yachts carrying 183 crews crossed start line at 1300 headed South providing a stunning sight from ashore.

Published: 2013-11-12 00:00:00
Topics: Atlantic Crossing , Rallies
Countries: Canary Islands , Cape Verdes , St Lucia

2013 is the first edition of ARC+ and the following the 3-5 day stopover in Mindelo, the yachts will re-group and head off across the Atlantic on 20 November bound for Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.This new route choice has appealed to sailors from almost every principle sailing nation and amongst the fleet are boats registered from 14 countries around the globe including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, UK, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and USA. Crew on board represent 19 different nationalities and are aged from 15 to over 70 years old.

First boats to cross the start line

First across the line was David Smith's Voyage 440 Easy Rider 2 (GBR) followed by Aronna (BEL), LUV(GER) and the Rival 38 Kika (GBR). Once across the line many boats hoisted their downwind sails allowing for a colourful sight. Erik Roede's Swan 53 Oda was the first yacht to have his spinnaker up as he cruised across the start line at a good speed.

Boats are now on their way to Mindelo, Cape Verdes, 850NM due South. Unfortunately Nefeli (ITA) has decided to turn back to Las Palmas after encountering auto helm failure approximately 80NM from Gran Canaria. They have been in touch with Rally Control and will be making repairs on arrival into Muelle Deportivo.

The weather forecast suggests moderate north-easterly trade winds for the passage enabling the boats to make good mileage, and we hope to be welcoming the majority of the fleet into Mindelo over Friday 15 and Saturday 16 November. The re-start will take place on Wednesday 20 November when the fleet departs for Leg 2 to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.

Boats are fitted with the latest Yellowbrick Satellite trackers, allowing family and friends to follow the fleet from the comfort of their own home via the online Fleet Viewer. Boats can also send blogs and photos, posted on to the rally website to share life on board.

A busy schedule begins for the ARC fleet

As the ARC+ fleet left yesterday, the exciting pre-departure programme has only just begun for the ARC fleet. After a spectacular welcome party hosted by the Las Palmas City Council on Friday night, crews have spent the weekend exploring Las Palmas, and many headed out to wave off the ARC+ fleet on Sunday.

Before their own start on 24 November, ARC Crews can look forward to and exciting two weeks of preparation seminars and social activities.  Safety inspections are already underway around the marina and during the next two weeks, there are seminars run daily covering useful topics for ocean sailing including provisioning, communications, weather and sailing techniques. Fully preparing crews for the voyage is an important part of the ARC programme in Las Palmas and the experienced team of 'yellow-shirts' from World Cruising Club provide invaluable advice to help participants prepare for start day.

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Gran Canaria is a miniature continent
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The premier location for nautical activities
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Over 200 boats and 1200 people take part in the ARC every year
2700 NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia
A rally for everyone; families, racers, couples, big boats and modest boats
Two weeks of pre-departure activities in Las Palmas
Welcomed in Saint Lucia with a rum punch and a chilled beer
Fantastic achievement - crossing an ocean on a small sailboat