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ARC 2013 - Rally Preview

By World Cruising Club — last modified Nov 05, 2013 01:50 PM
28th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers sets sail in November from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.

Published: 2013-11-05 00:00:00
Topics: Atlantic Crossing , Rallies
Countries: Canary Islands , Cape Verdes , St Lucia

ARC 2013 - Rally Preview

ARC Start 2009 © WCC

Over 280 boats and 1400 people, including 25 children aged under 16, will take part in the 28th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which sets sail on November 24 from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, heading 2700NM across the Atlantic to Saint Lucia.

For the first time in the rally's history, there will be two routes available: 50 boats will sail via the Cape Verdes to Saint Lucia, setting off 2 weeks ahead of the main group taking the direct route.

As always, the ARC fleet represents almost every principle sailing nation.  This year so far we have boats registered in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, USA and 10 other nations, making 31 in total.

ARC crew crossing the Atlantic this year are aged from 22 Months to over 70 years.


ARC Boats

The ‘average’ ARC 2013 boat was built in 2003 (10 years old) is 14.71m long (48’3”), and is sailing with five crew.  87 different boat brands/builders are represented in the fleet this year, making it one of the most diverse ARC fleets for some time. The most popular boat so far this year is the Jeanneau 57 with 4 taking part and currently Jeanneau just about pips Beneteau to the post with 19 entries to Beneteaus 17 towards the top of the 'boatbuilders table', followed by Oyster with 15 entries from across their range, then Bavaria with 11.

Small, Large, Old and New

The smallest boats in this year’s fleet are Pogo 8.50 Pollux (FRA) at 8.50m skippered by Antoine Gloanec and Pogo 30 Avel Biz (FRA) at 9.14m.   At the other end of the scale, the largest ARC 2013 boat at 35m is classic schooner Texel (GBR), and launched in 1921, she is also credited with being the oldest boat in this year’s rally.   Launched some 91 years later in 2013, the 27‐metre superyacht Karibu (MLT) represents the second Oyster 885 vessel constructed by Oyster UK and Simonis Open 85 Sterna (ESP) is the third largest boat joining the 28th ARC.   Almost 15% of the provisional fleet are less than 24 months old – 21 boats built in 2013 and 18 in 2012.

Cruising and Racing

The majority of ARC boats are family cruisers, sailed by family and friends on the adventure of a lifetime. Multihulls are again popular, with 22 booked for the crossing, 10 of which are built by Lagoon.  Around 30 boats sail in the Racing Division under IRC handicap.  Fast boats to watch include  Volvo 70 Monster Project and two Pogo 40s who are likely to clock quick times given the right conditions. The current ARC course record is 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds, held by Italian maxi yacht Capricorno (Rinaldo Del Bono), in ARC 2006.

Start from Las Palmas de 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 begin on Friday 8 November when the ARC Information Centre opens for registration. The first social event is the Rolnautic Welcome Fiesta on Tuesday 12; and from then until the start there are parties, seminars and all kinds of activities for ARC sailors young and old.

Start day is Sunday 24 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 Racing Divisions at 1245 and the Cruising Divisions at 1300.

Landfall in Saint Lucia

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. Every boat will be welcomed on arrival (day or night!) with a basket of local fruit, chilled beers and rum punches.  This warm Saint Lucian welcome is just the start of the festivities ashore, with the whole community of Gros Islet getting involved with the visiting sailors.

The ARC brings significant economic and tourism dollars to Saint Lucia every December, and in return provides the perfect Caribbean destination.  The fun starts in Saint Lucia on the day the boats set‐off from Gran Canaria with the annual ARC Flotilla.  Fifty boats from the local community and visiting cruisers will sail from the capital Castries to Rodney Bay.  The final festivity of ARC 2013 is the awards ceremony on 21 December, which rewards the fastest boats and special categories like ‘Spirit of the ARC’.

ARC+ Cape Verdes

Departing Las Palmas on Sunday 10 November, ARC+ Cape Verdes will include a 3 to 5 day stop‐over in Mindelo, Sao Vicente, which lies 850nm south west of Gran Canaria. The Cape Verdes are ideally placed for the fleet to sail 'south until the butter melts', and will also provide crews with an opportunity to discover the enchanting local culture, lively nightlife and bustling food markets that make this group of islands a fascinating destination in their own right.  Whilst below the rhumb line, the island's latitude at 16º50'N is right in the path of the trade wind belt, promising a great sail for the 2,150nm passage on to Saint Lucia, setting off from Mindelo 20 November.

ARC+ will have a week long programme of activities in Las Palmas, including parties and preparation lectures, as well as an exciting social events programme in Cape Verdes and Saint Lucia. A separate prize‐giving party will wrap‐up the fun on 7 December, just as the earliest arrivals from the second start make landfall, giving ARC+ yachts more time to head south and enjoy some Caribbean cruising before Christmas.



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