Canary Islands, Las Palmas: 33rd Atlantic Rally for Cruisers prepares to set sail

With three starts planned, it’s going to be an exciting year in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as the rally preparations commence at the beginning of November.

Published 5 years ago, updated 4 years ago

The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) will bring together a diverse group of boats and crews to sail with the historic ocean rally celebrating its 33rd edition in 2018. With three starts planned, it’s going to be an exciting year in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as the rally preparations commence at the beginning of November.

As the largest transocean rally, the ARC is also the most eclectic; Sailors on all sizes of the budget, of all ages and on all types of boat join in to cross the Atlantic on the trade‐winds together, benefitting from the safe and social framework that the rally provides.

A diverse group of boats and crew

In 2018 boats sailing under the ARC banner range from traditional long‐keel cruisers such as the 30ft Halmatic Excalibur to the recently refitted 130ft superyacht G2 and all sizes, makes and models in between!

Multihulls have proved extremely popular with an impressive total of fifty‐five catamarans on the entry list spread across the different routes; a record entry due to the increased capacity. This year, the Lagoon 450 is the most popular model, with 11 of this type of catamaran in the fleet.

Over the course of the three staggered start days approximately 1600 sailors, aged from 10 months to over 80 years old, will depart from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. These sailors hail from all over the world and include crews of lifelong friends from the UK, a honeymoon couple from Australia, an all-female crew from Finland and a four‐time Transat Jacques‐Vabre winner. Cruising couples, experienced ocean racers, charity fundraisers, families and more will all be making their way to the Caribbean.

ARC+ via the Cape Verdes

The ARC continues to prove the most popular way for cruising yachtsman to sail from Europe to the Caribbean and in particular demand for spaces on ARC+ (sailing from Las Palmas to Saint Lucia via Cape Verdes each November) has grown year on year since the inaugural event in 2013. After reaching capacity for the last two years, 2018 proved no exception; with a full entry list by mid‐January and waitlist closed in the spring.

With the support of host marinas at the start in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the stopover in Mindelo, together with the addition of a new destination in the Caribbean, World Cruising Club has been able to offer extra capacity on the popular ARC+ route, with a second slightly later start and an alternative finish in St. Vincent.

The result is three starts, two destinations, and the most boats ever to set sail under the ARC Banner!

Sailing the ARC+ route, introduced to the event five years ago, over 70 boats are set to depart on Sunday 11th November sailing initially to Mindelo, Cape Verdes for a 3‐5 day stopover, then restart for Saint Lucia on Wednesday 21st November.

Pioneering a new route and new destination for 2018, ARC+ St. Vincent follows in their wake

departing Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Thursday 15th November to also sail to Mindelo, Cape

Verdes for a 3‐5 day stopover, but restart on Sunday 25th November bound for Blue Lagoon Marina in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

ARC 2018

The largest fleet of yachts, around 200 in total, sail on the traditional route directly from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, a total of 2,700nm. In 2018, the spectacle of the start is planned for 25th November attracting large crowds along the promenades and a carnival sends off for over 1200 intrepid sailors.

Sailors on all routes benefit from the pre‐departure programme, safety checks, weather forecasts at sea, satellite tracking of each boat during the crossing, intra‐yacht radio net and communication with ARC rally control for safety and fleet support messages.

On arrival, a warm welcome, ice‐cold rum punch and a reunion with their fellow ralliers promise to mark the great achievement of sailing an ocean in a very special way.

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