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ARC+ Rally Departs

The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the granddaddy of all cruising rallies, got underway on Wednesday with the first of two fleets. Seventy ARC+ ralliers departed the Cape Verdes Islands with 15 knots of breeze under blue skies. The remaining 160 boats will start the ARC Rally from Gran Canaria this Sunday the 19th.

Thirteen of the 260 boats signed up to make the 2,700-mile voyage from Gran Canaria to St. Lucia are from the US. About 37 countries are represented in the fleet, and 32 of the 260 boats are multihulls. The smallest boat is a 30-ft Pogo, the largest a 90-ft Sparkman & Stephens, with the average length in the fleet about 45 feet. Despite being primarily a cruising rally, 27 of the boats are signed up in the Racing Division.

Local sailor Ian Deas from Walnut Creek is crewing with friends aboard the Catana 471 Umoya of London and will be starting on Sunday from Gran Canaria. Ian spent this past summer cruising his Hanse in the Med, but it’s now resting for the winter in Mallorca, so why not make a trade-wind passage to paradise?

To start the rally first you have to get to the Canary Islands, but from there it’s generally a brisk downwind run to the West Indies.  

© ARC Rally

The ARC, founded by Jimmy Cornell in 1986, takes sailors leaving Europe’s summer cruising season on the classic tradewind route to the islands. They’re following on the heels of the just-finishing Mini Transat fleet and look to have, at the moment, comfortable sailing conditions ahead. If you want to follow the fleet you can cruise ‘with them’ on the tracker here.

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Sailing is one of the great escapes, and it’s nice to have a boat that’s ready to go when the mood strikes and the weather is right.
Ramp launching a Catalina 22 in Santa Cruz’s East Harbor. © Vikas Kapur Seeking a change of pace from daysailing on San Francisco Bay, reader Vikas Kapur headed to Santa Cruz last weekend for a sail on Monterey Bay in a Catalina 22.