We have just this week signed up to take part in ARC 2021 and are super excited about it. We will be sailing aboard 'Blake', our Dufour 382 that will have recently come out of a 5-year ownership program with Dream Yacht Charter.
ARC stands for Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and sails every November the 2,700NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia. It's a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and regularly attracts over 200 boats and 1200 crew. It is run by the team at World Cruising Club who are based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight in the UK www.worldcruising.com
It's a special event for us personally as I first sailed in ARC'04 when learning to sail, went on to sail a number of other rallies including World ARC'08 and have worked as part of the event team (yellowshirts) for many years. I really enjoyed my time as Event Manager for ARC Europe helping 35+ boats each year sail from the BVI-Bermuda-Azores-Europe. I met Katie at the final prizegiving after having sailed across in ARC'11 and well the rest as they say is history! It's going to be great returning to sail the ARC on our own boat as a family 10 years later.
The start The "yellowshirts" Safety demos
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes the ARC such a special event but it attracts sailors from many different countries and of all ages, from families with young children to serious racers, and big boats with multiple crew to small boats double handing. There are a series of events and activities in the build up to the start, with boats arriving into Gran Canaria from all over Europe. As the docks fill up with boats there is a nervous excitement in the marina that becomes almost palpable. The startline is incredible with 200+ boats heading out on their own adventures. Within a few days you have lost sight of everyone, only picking them up on AIS or the position report. It's not until you start closing in on Saint Lucia that you start to see a few boats and you all make landfall. After a few weeks at sea it's an incredible feeling to make landfall with a rum punch, plenty of people to take your lines and a noisy welcome:)
Actually maybe this ARC promo video from back in 2015 will give you a good idea of what's involved:
Each of the rally boats is supplied with a GPS tracker from the guys at YB tracking which will update our position every 4 hours. More affectionately known as the 'yellowbricks' the tracker allows friends & family to follow from home.
We cannot wait to be a part of this experience, stay tuned for more news stories as we prepare for the start on November 21st 2021...
A screenshot during ARC 2019 showing the fleet half way across the Atlantic