Excitement is building day by day on the pontoons at Las Palmas Marina as preparations for ARC+ Saint Lucia and ARC+ Saint Vincent are now in full swing. With over 80% of the fleet already arrived and checked in, it is now over to the highly knowledgeable and experienced Safety Inspection Team to visit each boat and assist skippers and crews with all the equipment required for an Atlantic crossing.
It’s not all about boat preparations as the first of the extensive ARC+ social events began last night with the Welcome Drinks party at the Sotavento Center. Conveniently located at the southern end of the marina complex, over 300 excited participants attended the evening which provided the perfect opportunity to meet with fellow sailors and share their exciting adventures ahead.
Tapas and drinks from the bar were served while background musical entertainment was provided by a saxophonist. The atmosphere was full of excitement and anticipation for the journey ahead and with such a large attendance of family boats this year the children provided a fun part to the evening.
Nick Martin, World Cruising Club ARC Event Manager, gave a warm welcome to everyone and along with wishing crews all the very best with their preparations and run up to the Rally, he also encouraged participants to enjoy all the social activities ahead and to be sure to attend the useful and informative seminars taking place next week. As a family man himself, he also gave special recognition to the high number of family boats in attendance this year and how exciting it was to see all the children already beginning to make firm friends.
The programme continues this evening with the first of the Sundowners being held at the Dingy Park. This evening is being sponsored by World Cruising Club (WCC) and in efforts to reduce the amount of plastics in the world, WCC has replaced the use of the drinks cups at the Sundowners with 100% biodegradable cups made from a rice and plant materials. For a returnable deposit of €5 each, cups are available via the ARC Information Centre or at the event itself. With over 1,700 participants taking part in all the ARC Rallies this year, this new introduction will make a significant impact to reduce the use of plastics during the event. Of course participants may also make use of their own drinking vessels.
The start of next week begins with the ARC Forest Project during the morning and Crew Dinner for the Saint Lucia route taking place at Restaurant Embarcadero in the evening so participants have a lot to look forward to.
The ARC platform and ARC Information Centre remains a hive of activity today with newly arriving boats checking in and the ‘yellow shirt’ teams are at hand throughout the day to answer questions and assist crews to ensure they have all the information they need.