SAIL

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER ARC

Source: The 2016 ARC fleets sets sail for St. Lucia under clear skies

ARC banners abound in the run-up to the start in Las Palmas

Every year since 1986, a group of around 200 cruising boats has gathered in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, ready to set forth across the Atlantic Ocean—their destination, the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean’s beautiful Windward Isles.

The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is now one of 11 sailing rallies organized by the UK organization World Cruising Club (WCC). Based in the Isle of Wight, the WCC has played a major role in encouraging, overseeing and nurturing the crews of these intrepid yachts, many of whom have never crossed an ocean before under sail. This past December I had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at exactly how the fleet goes about preparing for what, by any measure, is a major undertaking.

ARRIVAL IN GRAN CANARIA

The fleet arrives in dribs and drabs over the two weeks prior to the start, but ideally participants should aim to check in a week beforehand, so that WCC officials will have time to process things like comms contacts, crew numbers, IDs and boat papers. Arriving early also allows crews and skippers to make the most of the numerous free seminars available in the week prior to their departure.

Cruisers come from all over the world, with some even setting out from Northern Europe a full five-six weeks in advance. Most, though, enjoy a summer of cruising in the Mediterranean before leaving from the Balearics or Gibraltar for the Canaries. Many U.S. entrants will have also come

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Sail

Sail3 min read
10 Movies for Perfect Group Bonding Before a Charter
The fall boat shows have come and gone, winter is settling in, and sailing may seem like a distant dream as you hold your breath until your warm-weather Christmas charter. All is not lost, though, as this is also a great time to both distract yoursel
Sail1 min read
Cup Boats Hit the Water
Emirates Team New Zealand may have been the first to launch a new-generation America’s Cup boat, but it was the New York Yacht Club’s challenger, American Magic, that had the last (first?) laugh. Just a few days after ETNZ’s radical-looking AC75 hit
Sail6 min read
Holiday Gift Guide
The new GPSMAP 86 series from Garmin is comprised of four models, including the top-of-the-line GPSMAP 86sci with built-in Garmin/Navionics charts and inReach functionality, making them just the thing for a daysailer or pocket cruiser, in particular.