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ARC FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum size of boat and crew? 8.23m (27’) length overall (LOA) with at least two people on board.

How long will the rally take?  For the ARC, the typical passage time for a 12m (40’) cruising boat is 18 to 21 days, depending upon the weather conditions and your style of sailing. ARC+ boats can expect to be at sea for 5 to 7 days to Cape Verde and 12 to 16 days to reach Saint Lucia following the restart

What is the fastest crossing time? The ARC course record is 8 days, 6 hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds, held by Rambler 88, Juan K. Canting Keel Maxi (George David, USA), set in ARC 2016.

When does the rally start?  ARC 2017 starts in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 19 November. ARC+ Cape Verdes depart Gran Canaria for Leg 1 on 5 November, then re-start from Mindelo, Cape Verdes on Wednesday 15 November.

Can I use my engine?  This is a cruising rally, so use of engines is OK!  Boats in the fun competition Cruising Division must declare their engine hours for their results to be calculated.  Boats in the Racing Division are NOT allowed to use their engines for propulsion.

What safety equipment do I need?  We have a list of mandatory and recommended safety equipment that we will inspect on board the boat before the rally starts. This includes:

  • Approved ocean liferaft with more than 24 hour equipment pack
  • 406MHz EPIRB
  • Lifejackets with crotch straps and spray hoods for all crew
  • Full flare pack, including white hand flares
  • Means of sending and receiving emails at sea
  • Link to Support & Safety for more information

What training should I do?  We recommend that the skipper (captain) and at least one of the crew should have done some safety and communications equipment, heavy weather sailing and emergency management training within the last five years.   

You can learn more about the rally and tips for preparing your boat and crew by attending one of our 2 hour boat show forums, or 2 day residential seminars. We also have a number of handy videos on our YouTube channel.

Do I need an SSB radio?  No, but the daily radio nets take place on SSB.   At sea you will be outside of VHF range most of the time.  You must be able to send and receive email at sea with an SSB and a pactor modem, or a satellite telephone.

Can I take my children?  Families with children of all ages have sailed in the ARC, and we usually have around 20-30 children each year. We have special children’s activities in Las Palmas, including a week-long Kid's Club for children aged 6-16.

How do I find crew?  Personal recommendations are the best way of finding crew, but you can also register free on Ocean Crew Link to look for crew or respond to adverts. The ARC Facebook page is another good way to connect.

What about visas?  We will provide information about visas in the Rally Handbook, and the country information pages on www.noonsite.com are also helpful.  

Can I take my pets?  We have no restrictions on the animals you carry on your boat, but you must comply with the laws and regulations for your home country and any countries visited by the rally. We will provide advice in the Rally Handbook, or look up the country information on www.noonsite.com

How many people take part?  The ARC usually has over 200 boats from more than 20 flag nations.  There are over 1200 crew, aged from babies to the over 80s.  We have lots of social activities in Las Palmas to help the crews make new friends. Around 70 yachts sail in the ARC+ fleet.

What about support on the rally?  There will be a team of friendly 'yellow shirts' in Las Palmas and Saint Lucia.  They will help with registration, local contacts, docking, excursions, social activities and emergencies.  You can also contact the World Cruising Club office at any time mail@worldcruising.com or call +44 (0)1983 296060

How can families at home stay in touch with the boats?  All boats will be fitted with a Yellowbrick satellite tracker, which will display the boats positions on the online Fleet Viewer.  All boats can also blog for free on the rally website.

What about getting to Gran Canaria?  Join ARC Portugal and start the rally spirit!  ARC Portugal sails from Plymouth, across Biscay and then day-sails to southern Portugal.  All ARC boats travelling south can get discounts in marinas and boatyards on the Atlantic coast - see your Rally Handbook for details.

What about onward cruising from the Caribbean?  You can join ARC Europe, which leaves the Caribbean or east coast USA every May, and cruises to Bermuda and the Azores before crossing the Atlantic to Portugal.  To return to Europe, you could also ship your boat back on a yacht transporter, or arrange a delivery crew.