The sun shone and the sky was blue for the official ARC 2021 Flag Raising Ceremony which was held today to celebrate the 29 different nations taking part in the 36th ARC. At 12:00 noon, the flags were raised on poles overlooking the docks in Las Palmas marina by participants who were proud to represent their country and to mark this special occasion.
Two participants from the host ports of Gran Canaria and Saint Lucia were delighted to attend today’s Flag Raising Ceremony, raising the flags of their respective nations. Brad Gangardine, from Soufriere, Saint Lucia is sailing home on the Discovery 50 Into the Mystic and local Las Palmas sailor, Antonio Pablo Armas Mead will take part for the first time on his Jeanneau 54 Bluemoona.
At the ceremony, ARC Event Director Andrew Pickersgill said a few words to crews helping raise the flags and to those celebrating the occasion on board their boats around the marina. He acknowledged the support of the Tourist Board of Gran Canaria and the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as well as the Port Authority and local chandlery Rolnautic who have supported participants in the run up to the start.
“I’m sure you will agree that Las Palmas Marina have been wonderful hosts for the start of your adventure, working hard to accommodate the myriad of yachts in the marina. Whether this will be your first ocean crossing or you have sailed many before, we hope being a part of the 36th ARC is a great adventure for you. We hope the crossing will be a safe and enjoyable experience for you all and can guarantee that on the other side of the Atlantic, on the island of Saint Lucia, a warm Caribbean welcome awaits you!”
And with that promise, the 36th edition of the Atlantic rally for Cruisers was officially declared ‘open’ and the flags were raised.
Tomorrow will be the start of a very busy few days, with the final boats and crews arriving, a sextant workshop with Stokey Woodall, a live Zoom seminar on Emergency Navigation “Satellites to Frying Pans” and the first day of the ARC Kids Club at the Federación de Vela in the marina. The final countdown has begun!