Here we go ! ARC + yachts leave Las Palmas for Cape Verde
It’s a windy start for the sailboats participating in the ARC + 2021, and not everyone has reached the start line
Seventy yachts left Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, this afternoon in gusts of 15 to 20 knots northeast, heading for Cape Verde. The boats are part of the ARC + – the sister event of the popular ARC – which ends in Granada after a 4 to 6 day stopover.
The multihulls were led by the French crew Outremer 51, Red pepper (red pepper), and US Neel 47, Big bird.
First on the line in the monohull division, Beneteau Oceanis 40, Sala from Norway, followed by Irishman Moody 54DS, hibernian and the Norwegian Najad 490, Albicila.
Launched in response to the popularity of the ARC, which takes sailors directly to St. Lucia, the ARC + attracts many families, with 40 children participating this year, from Caruso Coxhead, 22 months, big bubble to Kim Rouge, 16, Brain wave.
The biggest boat, the smallest boat
Eight Oyster yachts are participating in the ARC + this year, including the biggest boat in the rally, Latobe, an Oyster 72. The smallest competitor is a British yacht, Night and day, a 31-foot Malo 40H owned by friends Nicholas Adams and Alex Smith, who took a year off to sail.
Navigate the world
Some crews – like the Styles family from Bristol – have left their lives behind to tour the world. The family lived aboard their Vagabond 47, Chula, in Cardiff, but after moving to a small village, starting his own business and accepting a lecturing position, life got too busy.
“We missed the simplicity of living on a boat; having nature right outside and hearing the rain bouncing off the bridges, ”said Jo.
During confinement, Jo and Joe replaced by Chula leaking teak deck badly in the hand, and made the big decision to sell and leave the UK.
“I took a year off so I can’t go back, ”said Jo. “We cannot afford our own house. It’s a giant experience right now. We still think we took that huge leap, and we don’t know if we’re gonnand successfully or if we are going to flop!
Moored alongside Chula in the marina of Las Palmas, was a German boat, big bubble. Verena Coxhead, a book editor, had always intended to return to work when her son Caruso was two, but instead the family of four will be spending their birthday in the middle of the Atlantic.
Cruise delayed due to Covid
The Coxheads had planned to do ARC + last year but were delayed due to Covid. Making the decision to leave family and friends behind, when life was just getting back to normal, was difficult, says Verena, but since the trip through France, northern Spain and Madeira, she ‘is adapted to life on board.
“The family pontoon in Las Palmas is fantastic,” she said. “We hoisted our ARC flags as soon as we entered Spain and have already encountered some of the boats. It’s good that children can also play with each other in the Caribbean.
Broken mast in Gibraltar
Unfortunately, a boat which did not take the start of the ARC + was Dragonfly, owned by the Pollock family of New Zealand. An accidental jibe in Gibraltar caused the mast to crack and now needs to be replaced. They hope the new mast will arrive in time for the main RCAF departure on November 21.
The family of six sold their home and belongings last December to buy the Oyster 56 and travel around the world. After six months of reassembly in Spain, they desperately want to leave. ARC’s activities for kids – which included dinghy, Halloween face painting, and beach games – provided a temporary respite from life in such nearby neighborhoods.
“We don’t see the children at all, they are so happy to play with all their new friends,” says mom Amandine. “There is an incredible sense of community here.
ARC + start
PBO was originally from ARC + to wave at the boats, and will be there in Granada to find out how it all went. The yachts will end at the Port Louis Marina of Camper & Nicholson. The newly refurbished 227 berth marina is located in St George’s harbor and is well placed to make landfall after crossing the Atlantic.
Grenada is located at the southern end of the Windward Islands chain, with numerous beaches, coves and islands – a great location for sailing north through some of the Caribbean’s best cruising areas.
To learn more about the Atlantic Rally for Cruising (ARC) on the World Cruising Club website, and on the island where ARC participants meet, visit www.grancanaria.com.
Read the full stories of ARC + participants in the February 2022 edition of Practical Boat Owner.