With the start of ARC Europe on 8th May fast approaching things are looking a little different for the west to east transatlantic rally this year. A smaller fleet, a different start port and virtual check-ins and safety inspections are some of the adaptations that have been needed as a result of the pandemic, but the rally spirit is building and World Cruising Club are looking forward to supporting the eclectic fleet on their multi-stop Atlantic crossing.
Coronavirus restrictions in the BVIs unfortunately meant it was not possible for the fleet to rendez-vous in the traditional start port of Nanny Cay on Tortola, and last month WCC confirmed IGY Isle de Sol and Simpson Bay Marinas on St Maarten as the alternative point of departure for ARC Europe 2021. Working closely with the supportive and efficient IGY Marinas team and representatives from the St Maarten Yacht Club, a programme of activities will be arranged in the week ahead of the start. All the yachts have been remotely checked-in with Rally Control via Zoom, to ensure all their crew details and yacht paperwork is in order. As with all World Cruising Club rallies, safety is paramount and Roger Seymour, senior instructor at Hamble School of Yachting and a veteran of the ARC Safety Team has been diligently conducting video calls with each skipper to run through the required equipment on board.
Many sailing with ARC Europe this year are returning faces from previous World Cruising rallies including eight yachts who sailed from Las Palmas to Saint Lucia in November 2020 with ARC+ and the ARC, and a further four who have spent several seasons Caribbean cruising after sailing across in previous editions. The fleet includes three multihulls, including the trimaran Minimole who claimed Line Honours and topped the Multihull Division in ARC+ 2019 and will be set once again to chase down the ocean miles on the racing rigged Neel 47. Be Love, a Bulgarian flagged Amel 55, is the largest yacht sailing with the rally, whilst at the other end of the scale is Cloudy Bay, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440 which is one of three Norwegian flagged yachts participating in ARC Europe 2021.
The ARC Europe office will open at IGY Simpson Bay Marina on Tuesday 4th May with Caribbean Event Manager Peta Cozier coordinating a Covid-compliant programme of activities for participants, including welcome drinks and canapés at the St Maarten Yacht Club, organised PCR Testing, sundowners, safety demonstrations and virtual Skippers Briefing ahead of the departure to Bermuda for the first leg of the rally on 8th May. Click here for the itinerary