ARC is a significant event in the sailing world. It has been held annually since 1986. It is hosted by Jimmy Cornell, founder of the World Cruising Club. Each November, over 200 yachts sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to sail the 2,700 nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.
The rally fleet consists of more than 200 yachts with 1,500 amateur sailors on board from more than 20 countries. These are all people who pursue their dream of crossing the Atlantic, following the sun.
What is a rally.
First of all, it is a safe and accessible way of crossing the ocean. There is certainly a competitive element, more for fun and enjoyment, but this is definitely not a race! The rally was created for: crossing the oceans with friends; feelings of confidence before the start; support and mutual assistance on the high seas; joint celebration of success upon arrival.
The rally collects data on participating boats and sails, which makes it possible to calculate the "handicap". This is a corrective factor that allows for the equalization of crossing times for yachts of different sizes and types, and this is what adds a competitive element. During the rally, you can use the engine to both charge the batteries and drive forward, so this is not a race! After the finish, the time of each participant is compared, taking into account the handicap and hours under the engine, and the final result is determined.
You can opt out of the competition and your results will not be counted if you just want to enjoy the transition at your own pace. In this case, you declare to Open Division rally.
ARC Racing Division
ARC also has Racing Division, in which really sports boats take part with an experienced team of athletes. All boats in the Racing Division are required to have an IRC handicap certificate and are prohibited from using the engine. After the finish, their result is also calculated taking into account the handicap from the rally organizers (World cruising club), but it's more for fun and excitement than competition.
Confidence during the transition
Everyone realizes that such a long journey can be a daunting task, even for experienced sailors. A few days before the start of the rally, a series of events and trainings are held to help the teams gain confidence in their abilities, prepare the yacht well, and have fun, of course. Communication with other rally participants is a great way to share your experience, gain new knowledge and discuss problems, and also make new friends. Constant parties are a great way to meet everyone!
By becoming a rally participant, you will receive a comprehensive rally guide with many tips on how to prepare your boat and crew. Since the start of the rally in 1986, a lot of practical knowledge and recommendations have been accumulated that will be useful to you in preparation.
Even before you decide to join the rally, you can start your training and preparation. A series of in-depth workshops and panel discussions are being held in Britain, the United States and Europe. This is a great way to start preparing and planning.
Crossing the ocean in a small yacht is a huge achievement to celebrate! The organizers will not only meet you upon arrival and help you moor, but will also serve you the famous rum punch and treat you with fresh fruit.
A ceremony is held annually and prizes are awarded both in the official nominations - the best time in class, the winner of the rally, and in less serious ones - the most beautiful yacht, the best blog or photo about the transition, the largest fish caught. Each boat receives a memento.
Participant safety comes first. The organizers keep track of each boat and have complete information about the crew in order to always have comprehensive data for the Coast Guard in case of an emergency. A mandatory requirement for all participants is the presence of a minimum set of life-saving appliances on board. Before the start, each yacht is tested for the availability and readiness of rescue equipment for emergencies such as man overboard, fire or flooding.
Statistically, you are completely safe in the rally! The experience of ocean crossings, accumulated since 1986, allows organizers to be experts in preparing yachts and crews for long voyages offshore.
Record number of ARC 2019 attendees
More than a thousand sailors from 53 countries took part in the ARC 2019 Atlantic Rally along the unchanged route Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.
Sir Chay Blyth fired his starting cannon, marking the start of the 34 rally, in which a record 283 yachts took part.
The first to cross the nearly mile-long starting line Outremer 5X, Bio Trek, under the direction of Pierre Cauetta (Pierre caouette). The team at Oyster Lightwave 48, Scarlet oyster headed the Racing Division, and Dufour 520, Bianco, led the Cruise Division.
Ann MacDonald, who has participated in ARC more than once on her Moody 419, Summer winds of cuan, this year took her daughter on board. “As a teenager, she wanted to join us and had a great time making new friends and connecting with different people,” said Ann.
For Marcus Wool, the rally was the first Atlantic crossing in his Sigma 38, Sam. “I was looking forward to being in the ocean with its big waves and not seeing land. To remind ourselves how small we are in this world, ”he said.
Most yachts take 18 to 21 days to sail 2,700 miles across the Atlantic and dock in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.
The current rally record is 8 days, 6 hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds. Set on Rambler 88, Juan K. Canting Keel Maxi (George David, USA) in 2016.
The rally participation fee ranges from 1000 to 2500 pounds per yacht and depends on the size of the yacht, and on 100 to 250 pounds for each team member, depending on age and the choice of the desired division.
Most of the competitors join the rally to ensure safety and peace of mind during the crossing, as well as because of the unique spirit of camaraderie and friendship that reigns among the participants. The rally remains a fun and enjoyable experience for both experienced sailors and beginners alike.
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