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Canary Islands, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Celebration of the Official Opening of ARC 2012

By World Cruising Club — last modified Nov 20, 2012 09:34 PM

Published: 2012-11-20 21:34:49
Topics: Rallies
Countries: Canary Islands , St Lucia

Flags and bands celebrate the official opening of ARC 2012

With one week to go before the ARC 2012 fleet leave Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia, crews from across the world marched and danced behind their national flags in a stirring parade around Las Palmas Marina.

At midday Sunday November 18, hundreds of ARC participants took part in the Official Opening Ceremony for ARC 2012. Flag bearers from representing Gran Canaria, Spain, Saint Lucia, the European Union and 25 of the main nationalities in the ARC fleet paraded behind the Banda Gran Canaria. The grand parade had a real festival atmosphere as participants young and old waved flags and cheered.

A warm welcome to the ARC sailors was made by Sr Luis Ibarra, President of the Port of Las Palmas; Sr Pablo Barbero from the Concejal del Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas (City of Las Palmas) and Sr Melchor Camon, of the Patronato de Turismo de Gran Canaria. ARC founder, Jimmy Cornell thanked the people of Gran Canaria, and Sean Compton, chairman of the Saint Lucia ARC Planning Committee then said how much Saint Lucia was looking forward to seeing the boats in a few weeks time.

Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club declared ARC 2012 officially "open" and the country flags were proudly hoisted on flagpoles around the marina as fireworks were launched in celebration.

The fiesta atmosphere continued with ARC participants and local people racing the local 'vela latina' boats outside the harbour. These lateen-rigged wooden boats are unique to Las Palmas, and the racing was kindly organised by the Federacion Vela Latina and the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas.

In the first week of ARC activities in Las Palmas, crews have enjoyed daily social events, seminars on cruising topics and the opportunity to plant another 200 trees in the ARC Forest in the mountains above the city.

ARC Boats

The ARC entry list stands at 230 boats, the majority of which are family cruisers, sailed by family and friends on the adventure of a lifetime. Multihulls are again popular, with 19 booked for the crossing.

View the full ARC entry list at  www.worldcruising.com/arc/entries.aspx and Download ARC 2012 statistics here.

Start from Gran Canaria

Las Palmas has been the start port for the ARC since the very first edition of the rally in 1986. Around one third of the boats are already in the marina, with the remainder arriving over the next two weeks. 

Official activities began on 12 November and from now until the start there are parties, seminars and all kinds of activities for ARC sailors young and old.

ARC activities continue this week, with more crew flying in to join their boats. 202 of the 232 confirmed entries are now in the marina, and the remaining boats are expected in the next few days.

Start day is Sunday 25 November, and thousands of spectators will line the city shore to watch the boats start. The first start gun will sound at 1230 for the Multihulls, followed by the RORC Racing Divisions at 1245 and the Cruising Divisions at 1300.

ARC boats will make landfall in IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia after 2700NM of sailing. This distance will take the fastest boats around 12 days, and the family cruisers 18 to 21 days.

Follow the ARC 2012 fleet www.worldcruising.com/arc and on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/arcrally

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Platinum Sponsors

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