Sunday’s opening ceremony for ARC 2023 drew the usual happy crowds of ARC participants, cruisers and locals for the traditional flag parade around the marina.
Around 400 people took part in the ceremony, dancing and walking with their national flags, led by the Banda Guiniguarda and tailed by the Batucada Samba group. Our guests from Saint Lucia were bright in national dress, demonstrating the warm welcome that awaits the ARC crews in the Caribbean.
The flags of Islas Canarias, Gran Canaria, Spain, Saint Lucia and the ARC led flags representing a slice of the 40 nations represented within the boat crews. Norway, Sweden, the UK and USA were out in force, alongside Ireland, France, Croatia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Malta, Brazil, Japan and more.
The parade always draws a crowd, and its not hard to see why – Banda Guiniguarda gets everyone in the mood with energetic marches and Batucada Samba keeps the end of the parade dancing to the beat. It is a technicolour feast for all the senses!
Las Palmas is a big marina, and the procession takes 45 minutes to get around to the flag poles by the marina office on the Dique Est (or ‘the wall’, as it’s known in the ARC). After speeches by ARC Event Manager Andrew Pickersgill and Palmas Port Commercial Director Juan Francisco Martín, the 30 national flags fluttered up the halyards into a warm Las Palmas sky.
For more than thirty years the officials at Las Palmas Port, Las Palmas City Council and Gran Canaria Tourism have supported the ARC, helping many thousands of sailors to enjoy an experience of a lifetime.
This time next week, the yachts will be sailing south, away from Las Palmas before heading west almost 3000 nautical miles across the Atlantic to Saint Lucia.
You can watch the start live stream on Facebook at facebook.com/arcrally on Sunday 19 November. Coverage will start around 11:30 as the boats leave the marina, followed by coverage of the two starts at 12:45 and 13:00 UTC.