Classic professions allow a lively start to ARC 2022
Classic professions allow a lively start to ARC 2022
by World Cruising Club Nov 20 21:19 UTC
November 20, 2022
ARC 2022 © James Mitchell
It was an exciting start to the 37th edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) today, Sunday November 20, from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as a northeast swell gave the boats a boost. ‘mail. A total of 138 of the 143 strong fleets set off for the 2,700nm sail to St. Lucia, with a long-range forecast promising good trade winds to take them to the Caribbean. More than 800 crew members are taking part in ARC 2022 aboard a diverse fleet of cruising yachts with monohulls, multihulls and a motorboat leaving Gran Canaria today.
Host to the start since the first ARC in 1986, Las Palmas Marina comes alive again with the annual event for the two-week rally pre-start programme. Participants enjoyed exploring Gran Canaria, and the city of Las Palmas was excellent in provisioning and preparing for the crossing to Saint Lucia, which is expected to take 18-20 days for the average cruiser. World Cruising Club rally organizers carried out safety checks for each boat and organized a varied program of seminars and social evenings before departure, fueling the rally camaraderie evident at every dock in the marina. “It was a really smooth operation, all aspects here in Las Palmas,” said Mark Lawrence, crew aboard Australia’s Dufour 56 Smooth Operator. “The services and facilities have been really good, from the riggers to the provisioners, and it takes so much stress out of the preparations to have all this support. Now we feel, ‘let’s go’! great trade winds sailing towards the Caribbean! ”
There was an emotional farewell atmosphere as the marina in Las Palmas gradually emptied, leaving the pontoons bare for another year. The Gran Canaria Tourist Board, Las Palmas Port Authority and Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas have been wonderful hosts for ARC participants over the past two weeks, and crews have said goodbye to the city with waves and cheers as the yachts came out in procession from the marina.
Over the past 48 hours in Gran Canaria, as the crews made their final preparations for the start of their Atlantic crossing, strong gusty winds from the NE created a significant 1.5m swell; ideal for surfers, but today causing some discomfort to boats on the starting line. The wind was more easterly than typical for an ARC start, meaning it was white sail reaching the start in winds of 18-20 knots. The weather forecast for the next 24 hours shows winds around 20 knots, with stronger gusts in the acceleration zone south of Gran Canaria. The acceleration zone extends 100 nautical miles from the island, where its 2,000 m high mountain causes a significant increase in the strength of the winds to the south of the island. Skippers will need to take precautions, reef early and sail further south sheltered from the strongest winds for the first 24 hours. With daylight tomorrow, their fleet should head for more stable trade winds, particularly south of the rhumb line, a pattern that should hold for at least the first week of the crossing.
With the committee ship, the Meteor of the Armada española (Spanish Navy) in place, the first departure was for the Multihull and Open divisions, just as the sun rose after a cloudy morning. Despite a reef or two, the performance catamarans sailed at 5-6 knots at the start, led by the all-electric catamaran ITA 14.99 Nanomole (MLT) skippered by Ulrik Bjerl Nielsen from Denmark.
Then a smaller than usual ARC Racing fleet battled the swell on the coast line and it was a safe and steady start with many days of ocean sailing ahead. Harmony 52 Sao Jorge (GBR) took the lead to cross the line first, followed by the Beneteau First 53 Firstlady (DEU) and the smaller Beneteau 40.7 Escapado (GBR) following in third position. Both Sao Jorge and Escapado are charter boats from the UK-based Sail Racing Academy, carrying guest crews with a professional skipper and mate on board.
It was a spectacular sight as the white sails of more than 100 Cruise Division yachts dotted the blue horizon of Las Palmas Harbor at 1:00 p.m. Anthony Auger’s Oyster 665 Patience of London (GBR) was ahead of the fleet, with strong winds already propelling them towards Saint Lucia.
As the fleet leaves Gran Canaria in its wake, a classic trade wind sail is expected as the boats head south before turning to point their bows towards IGY Rodney Bay Marina. From the youngest crew, aged just two, to the oldest skipper over 80, ARC sailors from 35 different nations will soon adjust to life on the waves after a rush of preparations before departure. All ARC boats are fitted with YB Tracking satellite trackers, allowing family and friends to follow the fleet from the comfort of their own home via the ARC website or the YB Races app.
The departure of the ARC fleet sailing direct to Saint Lucia today means a combined total of 234 yachts will cross the Atlantic under the ARC banner in November 2022. The ARC+ fleet of 91 yachts departed Mindelo, Cape Verde , for the second leg of their final crossing. Friday, direction Camper and Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina in Grenada. A further 43 yachts will join the second edition of ARC January, setting sail in the new year, in a third transatlantic rally organized by the World Cruising Club, sailing from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia.