The 159 boats signed up to sail the 2700 miles across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia in the 2021 ARC Rally awoke to the news yesterday that the island of La Palma, 145 miles to the west, was experiencing its first volcanic eruption in 50 years. 2021 has been a year when event producers have cautiously but steadfastly pursued a return-to-normal sailing world (whatever that will mean) while being continuously buffeted by global headwinds. In fact, the ARC Rally, scheduled to start on November 21, shouldn’t be impacted by the explosion.
The volcano erupted Sunday, and last erupted for about three weeks, almost exactly 50 years ago, in October 1971. According to the New York Times there are about 85,000 residents on the island, and local authorities are evacuating 5,000-10,000 people to keep them out of harm’s way.
As in the Baja Ha-Ha, with 190 boats signed up this year, there has been tremendous demand for boats to go cruising. The ARC Rally and the ARC Plus Rally were both sold out, so they’ve added ARC January to accommodate more cruisers who want to cruise in company across the Atlantic. There are 10 boats from the US in the ARC Rally and eight in the ARC Plus.
Meanwhile, with the weather gods, thankfully, rolling gutter balls in the Atlantic hurricane lanes with tropical storms Peter and Rose, we can only continue to make cruising plans while we keep a weather eye out.