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ARC Europe FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum size of boat and crew? 8.23m (27’) length overall (LOA) with at least two people on board.

How long will the rally take?  The initial passage to Bermuda takes around 5-7 days from St Maarten; from Bermuda to Horta 12-15 days; and from Azores to Portugal 5-6 days for an average 12m boat. The whole rally covers a 6 week period.

When does the rally start?  ARC Europe 2024 starts on 11 May 2024. For those yachts wishing to join the rally from the USA East Coast we will conduct virtual check-ins, safety checks and Zoom briefings, enabling skippers to choose where they depart from to join the fleet in Bermuda. The re-start from Bermuda to Horta is on 23 May 2024.

I want to sail to the UK/Germany instead of Portugal  If you are heading north, you can leave the rally after the Azores Cruise.  We will continue to provide weather forecasts and you can retain your satellite tracker until you reach your destination.

Can I use my engine?  This is a cruising rally, so use of engines is OK!  Boats in the fun competition Cruising Division must declare their engine hours for their results to be calculated.  

What safety equipment do I need?  We have a list of mandatory and recommended safety equipment that we will inspect on board the boat before the rally starts. This includes:

  • Approved ocean liferaft with more than 24 hour equipment pack
  • 406MHz EPIRB
  • A suitable offshore Lifejacket with crotch straps, spray hoods, Personal AIS, 3-point tethers for all crew
  • Full flare pack, including white hand flares
  • Means of sending and receiving emails at sea

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What training should I do?  We recommend that the skipper (captain) and at least one of the crew should have done some safety and communications equipment, heavy weather sailing and emergency management training within the last five years.   

You can learn more about the rally and tips for preparing your boat and crew by attending one of our 2 hour boat show forums, or 2 day residential seminars. We also have a number of handy videos on our YouTube channel.

Do I need an SSB radio?  No, but the daily radio nets take place on SSB. At sea you will be outside of VHF range most of the time. You must be able to send and receive email at sea with an SSB and a pactor modem, or a satellite telephone.

Can I take my children?  Families with children of all ages have sailed in ARC Europe, and all are welcome.  It is worth noting that this west-to-east Atlantic crossing is usually rougher and colder than the tradewind ARC route.

How do I find crew?  Personal recommendations are the best way of finding crew, but you can also register free on Ocean Crew Link to look for crew or respond to adverts. The ARC Europe Facebook page is another good way to connect.

What about visas?  We will provide information about visas in the Rally Handbook, and the country information pages on are also helpful.  

Can I take my pets?  We have no restrictions on the animals you carry on your boat, but you must comply with the laws and regulations for your home country and any countries visited by the rally. We will provide advice in the Rally Handbook, or look up the country information on

How many people take part?  ARC Europe usually has 20-30 boats, mostly crewed with four people or more.  There are lots of opportunities for changing crew along the route, as there are good air links in Bermuda and the Azores, so many boats sail with a range of family and friends on different stages.  

Some crews are already friends, having sailed in the ARC, World ARC or ARC Caribbean 1500 rallies.  We'll organise lots of social events to help everyone make friends.

What about support on the rally?  There will be a team of friendly 'yellow shirts' in each rally port. They will help with registration, local contacts, docking, excursions, social activities and emergencies. You can also contact the World Cruising Club office at any time [email protected] or call +44 (0)1983 296060

How can families at home stay in touch with the boats?  All boats will be fitted with a satellite tracker, which will display the boats positions on the online Fleet Viewer. All boats can also blog for free on the rally website.

What about onward cruising?  Many ARC Europe boats continue cruising together after the rally, exploring the Mediterranean and northern Africa. North American boats may want to cruise the Mediterranean then join the ARC to sail back to the Caribbean.