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Largest ever ARC Europe fleet start from Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs

By Sue Richards last modified May 08, 2009 04:02 PM

Published: 2009-05-08 16:02:05
Topics: Rallies
Countries: Bermuda , British Virgin Islands , Portugal , Azores

Start of ARC Europe transatlantic rally - Thursday 7 May

In the largest-ever ARC Europe rally, 28 yachts from 12 different countries, crossed the start line off Tortola, British Virgin Islands yesterday (Thursday 7 May) at 1200 local time. This is the largest ever fleet to take part in World Cruising Club's ARC Europe rally as many of the yachts are on their homeward back to Europe leg following participating in the World ARC and others having a winter season in the Caribbean. Four other yachts will be joining the rally in Bermuda, having started from various ports on the southeastern coast of America.

In blustery east-south-easterly conditions, the fleet started their 840 nautical mile passage to Bermuda, heading to the west of Tortola, leaving Little Thatch and Great Thatch Islands and Jost Van Dyke to starboard. A crowd of spectator boats bid them a safe farewell for the first leg of the rally, which will finish at Lagos in Portugal towards the end of June, having cruised Bermuda and the Azores Archipelago en route.

Rally "met-man", the Australian meteorologist Bruce Buckley, who will be sending daily forecasts to the fleet, has predicted, that once away from the Islands, winds should stay in the east-south-east sector around 20 knots; perfect conditions for the 5-7 day passage.

This year is the first time the rally has started from Nanny Cay, and the Marina gave the fleet a terrific send off, hosting a party and dinner for all the crews. Many will be sorry to leave 'Nature's little secret' (as the Islands are billed by the Tourist Board), having enjoyed exploring the BVIs as a final part of their Caribbean cruising.