As we move into week two of the pre-departure programme for ARC 2022 in Las Palmas, there is a sharp focus amongst the crews on preparations for departure. Docksides are busy with crews working on boats – cleaning decks, testing equipment, bending on new sails and sorting out spare parts. Most boats have now arrived, and more transatlantic crews are flying in, boosting numbers at all the events. For new arrivals there was a chance to join in the ARC seminar programme which covers topics relevant to Atlantic sailing. Today’s sessions were repeated from last week, enabling the newcomers to benefit from shared knowledge to help prepare themselves and their boats for the upcoming ocean passage.
The topics today included tips on managing emergencies at sea, and downwind sail set-up from Chris Tibbs, a veteran ocean sailor with 300,000 nautical miles of experience. Neil Brinsdon of Advanced Rigging and Hydraulics, shared his best practice for checking rigs at sea and strategies for coping with rig failures. Transatlantic ‘sailing legend’ Stokey Woodall inspired crews with his advice on how to use the stars, the moon and a frying pan as GPS-free methods of navigation. Clare Pengelly has been interviewing ARC crews for the last 10 years and brought together a collection of ‘what works’ for food selection, management and storage at sea. Her tips on all things, from which vegetables to choose for longest ‘boat life’, to how to manage your fridge and freezer in hot climates, were very popular and prompted lots of questions.
On the pontoons, Atlantic weather is now a common topic of chatter amongst crews as satellite systems are tested and weather GRIBs downloaded. ARC seminars include a popular session tomorrow on Atlantic Routing and Weather. Although the final weather briefing won’t be until the day before departure, forecasts are currently predicting good northeasterlies around 20 knots for Sunday after several weeks of very light breezes locally over Gran Canaria. For now, it is too soon to say if the promised winds will arrive. Further discussion on sail plans, menu plans and weather routing can wait for this evening’s crew ‘sundowner’ drinks as crews bend heads and focus on finishing today’s tasks; the boat job’s list just never seems to get any smaller!