Skip to content

27th ARC Rally Sails From the Canaries

Now celebrating its 27th year, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) got underway from the Canary Islands yesterday with a fleet of 192 boats from at least 29 countries.

Seen here shortly after yesterday’s start, crew of the British yacht Talulah RubyII was revved up and ready for the 2,700-mile crossing.

© 2012 WCC / James Mitchell

Although skies were clear just prior to the first start 10:45 a.m., skies soon turned cloudy, bringing 25-knot winds and rain squalls. Wet, but thankfully not cold, as Gran Canaria, where the start was staged, like at latitude 28N, just 135 miles off the southern tip of Morocco.

Although you may not be lucky enough to be doing the rally this year, you can follow the action via the online fleet viewer, read news updates on the ARC website and/or read the blogs of specific boats. As you’ll see, after only a day at sea a number of boats have substantially pulled away from the bulk of the fleet which is clustered together as it angles southwest, soon due to pass abeam of the Cape Verde Islands. The only reported mishap so far is a Delphia 33 named Julia lost its steering and is being towed to Tenerife.

The American yacht Rivendell was smokin’ when the breeze kicked in.

© James Mitchell
Part of the rally’s extensive pre-start safety exercises, fleet members tested the effectiveness of their PFDs.

© WCC / Fine Schaumburg

As in year’s past, the rally will end at Rodney Bay on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, a rhumbline distance of roughly 2,700 miles. Looking at the current forecasts, the fastest boats are expected to make landfall in about 12 days — some, perhaps, even threatening the ARC record of 11 days, 5 hours and 32 minutes set in 2006 by the Italian boat Capricorno. The majority of the fleet should take 18-21 days, in time for the awards ceremony on 21 December.

As always, the flags of many nations could be seen in port prior to yesterday’s start.

© WCC / Kieran Higgs

The majority of the ARC fleet views the crossing as a "fun rally," and as such, they are allowed to motor (with elapsed time penalties). There is a serious racing division, however, with is, of course, sail only, which uses IRC ratings. Look for further updates here, and in the pages of Latitude 38.

Leave a Comment

Longtime Bay Area racer Chris Corlett — seen here with his son Jesse at this summer’s Pacific Cup finish line — passed away last week.
With modern advances in science and technology, it seems that new things are always being discovered, be it a miracle drug, a cure for a disease or a previously unknown species.