Building up to the big adventure

16 November 2020

It’s been another busy morning here in Las Palmas with crews coming to the ARC platform to pick up their YB trackers which will allow friends and family to follow their progress to Saint Lucia. It’s easy to check positions on the Fleet Tracker via the World Cruising ARC website or download the YB Races App to any device.


It was then back to the docks for most skippers as there’s a long list of jobs to complete and checks to be made before their departure on Sunday. Many new crew members arrived over the weekend, including Robert Boswell and Peter Baek, friends joining Andreas Lindlahr on the smallest boat in the fleet, his 9.14m Pogo 30, Yuna. He has owned the three-year-old boat for just over a year. “I am a Pogo enthusiast and have sailed on almost every model. It’s a small, beamy boat that is very light in construction and so it’s quite fast,” says Andreas from Germany. “There’s also a lot of space below deck for its size and it really planes well and surfs the waves when we are at about 8.5 knots. From then on it gets really silent and smooth, so the faster you go, the better it is. It’s not a racer, it’s a true cruiser, but the ability of the hull to plane makes it feel a little bit like a racing boat. It’s also very comfortable,” enthuses Andreas.

For two of the crew it will be their first time across the Atlantic, but Andreas has sailed to the Caribbean before in a smaller boat. Peter also has the same boat back home, but his is more of a racer. “Rob is from New Zealand and lives in Denmark and we do a lot of sailing together,” explains Peter. “I met Andreas through a coaching course I did last year and we are all Pogo enthusiasts.”

Andreas has been in Las Palmas marina for a while now and enjoyed seeing the ARC+ fleet set off. He says that going to sea with the ARC is one of the best things you can do right now and feels lucky enough to be able to take part this year. “One week here and you feel you can forget about the crisis for a little while. It’s an adventure and such a fantastic way to sign off 2020, after such a difficult year.”

We also got a chance to chat to Paul Fellows, another crew member who recently arrived. He is sailing on Andy Kinnaird’s Nordsee 88, the largest boat in the ARC. They will take part in the IRC rated Racing Division. Having seen Songbird of London whilst out on a sailing holiday with his sons in Croatia a couple of years ago, he got in touch and decided to sign up to do the Atlantic crossing this year. “With all the troubles and cancelled flights, I decided to join the boat a week earlier in Valencia and help bring the boat down to Las Palmas,” said Paul. “It’s been great fun and a good way to get used to the boat and meet a few of the other crew members who will do the crossing. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great year to sail across rather than be back in lockdown in the UK and I can work from anywhere so I am really lucky.”

The online seminar programme continued today with experts in their field sharing valuable knowledge with ARC crews. First off was ‘Stokey’ Woodall, a respected ocean sailor, author and raconteur, who gave tips on using a sextant, followed by a talk on the Atlantic night sky for November and December. A must for those crossing the ocean and wanting to know more about what they see in the skies above them. Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club hosted a workshop for doublehanded crews, and Chris Tibbs’ presentation on managing emergencies at sea is always a popular seminar. Chris Tibbs is a meteorologist and weather router, professional sailor and navigator with hundreds of thousands of sea miles and experience.

Meanwhile in Mindelo, all ARC+ boats have arrived safely and are enjoying their time in the Cape Verdes.