It's hard to miss the pitter-patter of feet at the ARC socials. As the adults enjoy a drink or two at the sundowners and parties, there are always a club of smaller sailors grouped together with wide smiles and a game of tag soon ensues. Children in the ARC are a great enhancement to the atmosphere, with a special family boat programme to enjoy to get to know fellow cruisers with kids.
There are 24 children under the age of 16 sailing in ARC on 16 different boats setting off on Sunday, ranging from 2‐year‐old Laura Tanger on Sima, to 16‐year‐old Jamie Willetts on Floreana. The 16 family boats with children under 16 are: Alchemy (1) Catarsis (1), Ellinora (1), Floreana (3), Good Fellow (2), Jayana (2), Joanna (2), Koa (2), Luna (2), Out of the Woods (1), Oyai (2), Salt (1), SIMA (2), Starry Knight (2) Take Off (2), Toucan (1).
In Las Palmas the family boats are all berthed on pontoon S, and there is a lot of noise and action when the gang gets together. It was during the first sundowner that the kids were introduced to each other. At once it clicked although the age range is very wide, from 2 to 16 years. But a certain routine developed and soon they were all running and hanging around together. At the family barbecue they sat close to each other, the next day they planted trees with the Foresta project and at the beach party they played funny games in the sand. The week prior to the start, the children were all visiting the ARC Kids Club where they went swimming, sailing and horseriding in the mornings so that the parents could work on the boat or enjoy a moment of peace.
Peace is what the Agthe family needed after sailing south all the way from Northern Germany. Good Fellow brought them safely to Las Palmas. It all began as a dream and Marko was inspired to learn to sail after his 40th birthday, eventually getting his license. Then the hunt for the right boat began. In 2019 they bought a tried and tested bluewater yacht, a Jeanneau Sun Legende 41 and adapted it to their needs for a long‐distance cruise. With their teenage daughters, Marko and Claudia are excited to embark on a great adventure and have a film crew following their progress. 16-year-old Juliane has also undertaken to contribute to cleaning the planet as they go, utilising a microplastics screen they carry on board to sieve samples and collect data for PWL Anlagentechnik. Luise, 13, is playing nanny to the two girls from Sima.
Sima is a Bavaria 42. The owners Isa and Florian Tanger are very happy to get another crew member on board to keep their two little girls, Merle and Laura, company: Sailor Ted, the ARC Mascot. For the last 14 days he has enjoyed the full ARC program. He checked in with the Rally Office, assisted in seminars, planted trees for the environment, went to the costume party, had a safety check, climbed up the mast with Neil and danced at the Farewell party with various ladies.
He was given to Sima for the crossing as the little girls handed in the best story of all the kids. They prepared a bed for Sailor Ted and put their own teddies in it as a welcome, bought some honey because he likes it and even built a small toilet so he wouldn’t fall into the hole of the big one. After these preparations, the jury decided to let sailor Ted sail on Sima and the little girls are extremely pleased.
Very happy is also adventurous The Beaudry family from Montreal, Canada (Sylvain, Sounda, Maël (13) and Lohan (10) return to their Beneteau Sense 50 Jayana. During their time in Gran Canaria, the fishing-mad boys were really happy to meet up with so many other children in the ARC and their father has held several fishing workshops on board Jayana, much to the delight of other crew and their new-found young friends. The crew of four for the ARC crossing will include Sylvain’s 13-year-old son Maël and his wife and younger son will meet them in Saint Lucia to cruise between the islands. This family looks set on continuing their sailing adventures and have their sights set on the Pacific too – probably on a catamaran next time.
Another dedicated sailing family boat is Oyai. After taking over the ownership of the 2002 Amel Super Maramu, skipper Stu Holmes said: “We are thrilled to become part of this wonderful community that we have been following for the past few months. Already, we have met many fellow sailors and are continually amazed at how knowledgeable and welcoming this group of people is.” The Canadians from British Colombia had an ambitious plan of buying an Amel in the Caribbean (with a tight timeline) and sailing her across the Atlantic so they could experience the Mediterranean for the summer months. They did this successfully and are now joining the ARC to cross back to the Caribbean as a family. “Having confidence in our boat is such a nice feeling and the west to east Atlantic crossing definitely helped with that.” Their crew of six includes daughters Aria (8) and Micah (13) Holmes.
Regardless which boat you are on, the children will certainly miss each other during the crossing and will look forward to the day they will be running around together as a gang, once again.