92 boats in the ARC+ fleet left Mindelo today in a spectacle of colour with gennakers and code zeros flying in the light breeze as the boats commenced the second and final ocean leg; sailing 2,200 nautical-miles across the Atlantic to Grenada. Three boats remained behind due to mechanical problems, but hope to catch up with the fleet shortly.
While ARC+ isn’t a race and there is no racing division, at the beginning of each leg, the yachts have a formal start time to provide fun competition. Overseeing rally proceedings onboard committee vessel, Hemmingway, the ARC+ rally control team sounded the horn at midday to signify the start of Leg 2. With clear blue skies and 12kts of northerly wind, it was champagne sailing for the first boat across the start line, which was Sassicaia, a Luffe 48; closely followed by Argenaut, a Dulfour 430GL and XIII Treize, an Outremer 55.2.
The weather for the fleet for the next few days is expected to continue with light winds until Tuesday when the trade winds are likely to increase. Once the trades stabilise, they should be light to moderate, increasing as the boats head west. Winds in the longer term are predicted to be stronger south of a direct route. Follow the fleet online here, or download the YB Races app.
This year, has seen a record-breaking 95 entries for ARC+, attesting to the growing popularity of this two-stage Atlantic adventure and the appeal of the destinations in Cape Verde and Grenada. Såo Vicente has proved a fantastic stopover for those crossing the Atlantic, and Marino Mindelo has been hugely accommodating in securing, not just pontoon space for the 95 boats, but in offering an array of facilities to help those that needed to do an array repairs and fixes.
While staying in Mindelo, many of the rally participants and their guests welcomed the opportunity to discover the beautiful islands of Cape Verde. Popular organised excursions included a panoramic drive around the northeast coast of São Vicente and a trip to explore the spectacular views and stunning scenery of the neighbouring island of Santo Antão.