29th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers sets sail in November

November 2014: This November, over 240 boats and 1200 people, including 34 children aged under 16, will take part in the 29th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, heading 2700NM across the Atlantic to Saint Lucia.

Published 9 years ago, updated 4 years ago

ARC sailors have a choice of routes with the introduction of ARC+ Cape Verde, and two starts are planned: 52 boats sailing ARC+ will depart Las Palmas marina (Muelle Deportivo) on Sunday 9 November, followed by the larger ARC fleet (190 boats) on Sunday 23 November.

As always, the ARC fleet represents almost every principle sailing nation. This year entries include boats registered in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, UK, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, USA and 13 other nations, making 36 in total.

ARC Boats

ARC 2014 is shaping up to feature one of the most diverse fleets in history with boats ranging from 9.58m Marieholm 32E Thalassa (SWE) to super‐maxi Farr 100 Leopard by Finland (GBR). Leopard is set to sail with a crew of 22 in ARC 2014 and has a considerable history of conquering Atlantic speed sailing records that will make her one to watch, albeit briefly, on this year’s Fleet Tracker.   Catamarans have proved extremely popular this year – 25 are entered to date for the direct route, and 12 in ARC+ and Lagoon top our multihull ‘boatbuilders table’ by some margin with 16 entries across both route choices.

One rally – two routes

ARC+ Cape Verdes

Departing Las Palmas on Sunday 9 November, ARC+ Cape Verde route includes a 3 to 5-day stop‐over in Mindelo, Sao Vicente, which lies 850nm south-west of Gran Canaria. The Cape Verde Islands 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 rhumbline, 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 19 November.

ARC+ will have a week-long programme of activities in Las Palmas beginning on 1 November and includes parties and preparing 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 10 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.

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 50% of the ARC boats have already arrived the Muelle Deportivo marina, with the remainder arriving over the next two weeks.  The pre‐start programme for the ARC (second start) crews begins on Friday 7 November when the ARC Information Centre opens for registration.  The first social event is the Welcome Fiesta on Friday 7th November (crew only) and from then until the start there are parties, seminars and all kinds of activities for ARC sailors young and old.

The main start day is Sunday 23 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 fleet at 1245 and the Cruising fleet 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 boat 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 2014 is the awards ceremony on 20 December, which rewards the fastest boats and special categories like ‘Spirit of the ARC’.

Economic Impact

The ARC has a positive impact not only for boat builders and marine equipment suppliers but also for the economies of Gran Canaria and Saint Lucia.  In 2013, ARC crews and families spent over €1million ($2m) in Las Palmas, on berthing, marine services and supplies, provisioning, restaurants and hotels.  Over 690 hotel nights were booked in Las Palmas and over 1,400 flights booked to and from Gran Canaria.

After the ARC

Ten ARC boats will be continuing their sailing adventure with World Cruising Club by joining the world ARC 2015‐16 circumnavigation rally in Saint Lucia in January.  Nineteen boats will take part in the round‐the‐world rally via the Panama Canal, Pacific Islands, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa and Brazil.

Related content

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Mindelo (Sao Vicente)

Rodney Bay

Related to the following Cruising Resources:

You must Login or Register to submit comments.