The 35th annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers kicked off on November 22 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. 300 boards go to warm lands - to the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean Sea (North America)
Back in 1986, Jimmy Cornell, as founder of the World Cruising Club, kicked off the annual November cruiser rally (not a race!).
2-3 hundreds of boats leave the Canary Islands (the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), where they had a great time during the warm Mediterranean season, and go across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean.
Depending on the size of the yachts and the weather conditions, sailing takes from one to three weeks. In total, the yachts will have to cover about 2,700 nautical miles.
300 crews took part in the current rally. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has made its own adjustments, but this still did not worsen the mood of the sailors, who were determined to once again conquer the Atlantic Ocean and dock in the harbor of Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.
On the eve of the start, the sailors spent their time with benefit and great pleasure in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. A series of online seminars, individual security checks were organized. The World Cruising Club team rendered considerable information assistance.
Particular attention was paid to sailors who cross the ocean for the first time.
Robin Lemmens, sailing with his young family on the Hanse 455 Veni Vidi Vixi, did not hide his delight over the last days in Las Palmas: “I myself cannot believe that we prepared Veni Vidi Vixi for crossing the great Atlantic in just one week. From provisioning to cleaning, from studying the weather forecast to tuning in to information sessions. Piles of linen were piled and removed, all provisions laid out in every available empty space.
The to-do list seemed to never end.
We have met and made friends with many wonderful sailors who will communicate with us on the VHF, YB applications, as well as the final destination of the trip - St. Lucia.
I really want to continue and develop my acquaintance with such wonderful people to whom I am very grateful for the spirit of camaraderie and mutual assistance, ”said Robin in the end.
On the day of the departure, the easterly winds that came to Gran Canaria from the Sahara brought with them a misty sun and a light breeze of 8-10 knots.
The procedure for preparing the sails and launching large and small, single-hull and multihull yachts was accompanied by stormy expressions of sympathy from the spectators who remained on the shore. Beeps and parting words were heard from everywhere.
At 12.35, the 35th Atlantic Cruiser Rally started.
And while ARC is not a race, it is often attended by eminent racers. Sailing legend JP Dick is taking part in the rally for the third time. Now on his JP54 The Kid is paired with Frenchman Fabrice Renoir.
However, the first to cross the starting line of ARC 2020 was another professional sailor, one might say - veteran of large boat races - Peter Perenyi, with a Hungarian team on board, in his Marten 68 Cassiopeia 68.
Given the cruising range, this will be an interesting battle for IRC (Internet Relay Chat) between boats between 39 and 80 feet.
The weak wind became a problem for the captains: they raised their sails, and in their bid to pass the Committee's boat goodbye, they made a small crush.
At the moment, the boats are on the route. They can be monitored in the YB Tracking App and the Fleet Viewer page on the World Cruising Club website.
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