Every year around 20 or more children sail the 2700nm across the Atlantic with their parents. This year there are 21 children aged 16 or under, and they come from nine different countries. All sorts of activities are planned to keep the children amused in the week before the start, so that Mum and Dad can get the boat ready for the crossing.
15 kids, aged between seven and 16 years, gathered in front of the ARC Office on Saturday afternoon. In bright sunshine they trotted to the beach and spent two exciting hours running around and playing funny games in the sand. After the first game to get to know each other the little Scandinavians, Australians, Americans and French didn’t need translations from the monitors any more. Egg and spoon, limbo football and running races were all on the menu, but the most popular game was 'Mr Shark' - even the older kids like Meeri from Finland and Pedro from Italy screamed with joy while trying to catch the others.
On their return they were all happy and smiling with their new friends and said they were looking forward to the forthcoming week, although some of them were a bit sceptical whether they will really enjoy the long sailing leg across the Atlantic - children often have no concept of what the crossing will involve.
During the second week of the ARC, all children aged between 6 and 16 can join the Children's Club at no cost. The club is run by the Federación Insular de Vela de Gran Canaria, who specialise in teaching children to sail.
José and Patricia will run the ARC Children’s Club next week which will incorporate dinghy sailing most days, combined with activities outside the marina, such as an outing to the Las Palmas Science Museum, a trip to the cinema, involvement with the ARC safety demonstrations, and other water related activities.
Having trained specialists gives parents peace of mind that their children will be in safe hands.
Planting the trees in the new ARC Forest is always a popular option for parents with children. It gives everyone a break from the marina, and a chance to do some physical work. Usually it's young teenagers who enjoy this trip the most, but this year our youngest planter was three year old Oliver, who got stuck in with gusto, helped by Grandpa Shaun.