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Largest ever ARC Europe Fleet Prepares for Transatlantic Rally

By Val Ellis last modified Mar 13, 2009 11:22 AM

Published: 2009-03-13 11:22:45
Topics: Rallies

March 12 th 2009

May 7th start for 36 yachts to enjoy fun and safe ocean cruising

It was 21 years ago that the concept of ARC Europe first came to fruition when the inaugural event, then named TransARC, set off in 1988. In 2000 the rally was re-named ARC Europe to better reflect its association with the world-famous ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers).

ARC Europe is based on the format of the ARC and enables yachts to cruise west to east to Europe at the end of the Caribbean season as part of a fun rally. There are two starting points on the same date, namely St. Augustine in Florida and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands where, for the first time, ARC Europe will be starting from Nanny Cay Marina.

By breaking the Atlantic crossing into several legs, ARC Europe helps make the passage a truly memorable way to voyage to Europe. During the six-week event, yachts will gather at Nanny Cay in early May 2009, before departing the British Virgin Islands and crossing the Atlantic in company. The two fleets then converge at the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda, before crossing the Atlantic and exploring the Azores Archipelago, reaching the European continent at the end of June. Yachts can then join rally stages to Lagos in southern Portugal, or northwards to Plymouth on the South-West coast of the UK.

International rally fleet marks 21st edition.

Organised by cruising rally experts World Cruising Club, ARC Europe is open to cruising monohulls with a minimum length of 27 ft (8.23m) and cruising multihulls from 27 to 60 ft (8.23 - 18.29m) LOA. As the Rally is open solely to cruising yachts, they are allowed to motor in calm periods; results are calculated for each leg and fun prizes are awarded.

For this 21st Anniversary edition, ARC Europe has attracted entries from Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Gibraltar, Italy, the USA and Australia. The rally attracts largely offshore cruising yachts with an average LOA of 14.15m (45ft). However this year's fleet ranges from David Clarkson's Hallberg Rassy 36 Zephyr (GBR) at 10.85m right up to Boris Fedorov's BVI flagged Dixon 72 Gray Lady at 22.77m which will be the largest yacht in the group. Ten yachts are using this year's ARC Europe to return to Europe having circumnavigated the globe as part of World Cruising's inaugural World ARC rally with a fleet that will shortly be arriving at its final destination in St.Lucia.

A further six yachts, mostly from the US, will be setting out to cross the Atlantic for the first time, whereas the remainder of the fleet have already sailed with the ARC during the last two years and have been cruising in the Caribbean in the meantime. Crossing times obviously vary depending on the weather encountered and your boat. However, most yachts complete the longest leg of 1800nm (nautical miles) from Bermuda to Horta in 13 to 16 days. The legs from Tortola and Lagos are approximately 850nm and are usually completed in 5 to 8 days. For those sailing from St. Augustine to Bermuda the crossing time is also 5 to 8 days.