One month to go till the first wave's away

06 October 2022

With one month to go to the start of World Cruising Club’s Atlantic Crossing season comprising of the ARC+, ARC and ARC January rallies, preparations are well underway for thousands of amateur sailors eager to depart on the adventure of a lifetime. Boats are steadily making their way to the Canary Islands ahead of the departures with ARC flags flying in numerous marinas en route to the rally start port in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The first wave away, ARC+ 2022, is scheduled to set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 6th November, with the entire rally running for five weeks including two ocean passages and three ports. 2022 celebrates the 10th edition of the ARC+ route, and a fleet of around 95 yachts, with 450 crew onboard, will sail from Gran Canaria to Cape Verde and then onto Grenada. Yachts in the fleet include classic ocean-crossing Swans from the 1970s through to new-build multihulls set to put their first Atlantic miles under their keels, with crew coming from over 20 different nations. A big hit with families, more than 30 children are set to sail on the ARC+ route in 2022.

Prior to departure, the rally programme begins for participants in Gran Canaria on Thursday 26 October, with World Cruising Club’s ‘Yellow Shirt’ Team supporting their preparations with seminars and a social programme forging the ocean crossing community. Highlights of the programme include activities for the 18 family boats taking part, lectures on ocean cruising topics from rigging to communications and an excursion to the ARC Forest environmental project. Ensuring their boats are rally-ready, many skippers have undertaken Virtual Safety Equipment Inspections already and these will be followed up with checks in port prior to departure. These checks provide great reassurance, running through the necessary items to ensure a safe ocean crossing covering over 3,000 nautical miles.

A highlight of the ARC+ route is the 4-to-6-day stopover in Mindelo, Cape Verde. Yachts are expected to arrive between 11-13 November and have time to explore these unique islands before the restart on 18 November. Mindelo itself is a true cultural melting pot with traditional markets providing an exciting opportunity to re-stock provisions and stunning beaches nearby to relax on after completing the first leg of the crossing. A tour is organised to the neighbouring island of Santo Antão with dramatic scenery and lush interior plus a chance to sample the local grogue.

Sights will then be firmly set westwards and the Atlantic Ocean awaits once more. The ARC+ fleet restarts on 18 November, bound for Grenada, the spice of the Caribbean. With the passage expected to take 12-16 days, the fleet will make landfall at Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina from around 30 November-5 December. Overlooking the historic capital St Georges and designed to reflect the traditional Creole architecture, the marina is a special location to arrive at, with Zara Tremlett CMM, Marina Manager at Port Louis Marina eager to welcome the fleet, “The arrival of the ARC+ yachts to Port Louis Marina really starts the sailing season in the Caribbean! Our marina is well practised in hosting regattas and events with extra wide berthing and dedicated areas on the land side for event presentations and award ceremonies. We love welcoming the yachts to our marina, which is great excitement for us and the whole island! Wishing everyone a steady and safe crossing!”

Grenada is certainly well worth crossing an ocean for with 40 white sandy beaches including the world-famous Grand Anse Beach, 15 breath-taking waterfalls, 5 chocolate factories, 3 rum distilleries, and more than 30 unforgettable dive sites. A full social programme keeps the warmest of welcomes going for each new arrival right up until the conclusion of the rally on 8 December with the Prizegiving Ceremony.