It's that time of year again. While thousands are gearing up up for Christmas, the World Cruising Club are getting ready for the departure of the ARC from Las Palmas. The fleet will leave the harbour on the 22nd of November heading for Saint Lucia.
World Cruising Club ARC is inclusive to anyone and everyone who wants to join. In the past they have participants with children and pets onboard for the journey. It doesn't matter if you have the biggest most advanced yacht or a modest boat; all are welcome.
All agree that it is a great way to cross the Atlantic as you are part of a community, but are able to have your own personal adventure. Many life-long friendships are created in the rally and many are founded in the two weeks of pre-departure activities which are continued over the radio net at sea.
When the fleet arrives in Saint Lucia they are met by World Cruising Club staff with a cocktail or chilled beer to celebrate the knowledge they have achieved crossing a whole ocean on a small sailboat. This celebratory atmosphere is carried on in the awards ceremony with prizes ranging from good seamanship, most fish caught and even prettiest boat!
The rally is a fun competition but not a race! Data is collected about the yacht participating which allows World Cruising Club to assign a yacht 'handicap'. This is a time correction factor that allows us to compare the passage times of different types and sizes of cruising boat, providing some fun competition. They still allow use of engines for propulsion as well as charging the batteries. On arrival the elapsed times are compared and adjusted for the handicap and motoring hours giving the participants a ranking to brag about in the bar and at home. However the competition is not compulsory, as yachts can also simply cruise at their own pace in the Open Division.
Typical passage time for a 40ft cruising boat ranges from eighteen to twenty one days depending upon weather conditions and style of sailing. The current ARC course record is 8 days 14 hours, 39 minutes and 51 seconds, held by Farr 100, Leopard by Finland, sailed by Chris Sherlock and Samuli Liesti and owned by Mike Slade, set in 2014.
All boats sailing with the ARC will have the YB3 tracker installed before departure. The trackers send information such as speed, direction and position onto the fleet viewer so that friends and family left at home can follow an individual yacht or the whole fleet while they are on their sailing adventure.
For more information or to view the fleet tracker once the ARC has started please visit the World Cruising Club website.