The ARC January 2023 fleet left Gran Canaria today for the start of their Atlantic crossing to Saint Lucia. There was much excitement this morning as after months of preparations the boats and crews finally embark on their 2,700nm journey to the Caribbean. Spirits were high on the pontoons as the last checks were made, goodbyes were said until they meet again in the Caribbean and excitement for the start was in the air with boats eager to get going on their journeys.
Thirty boats set sail from Las Palmas with two starts, the Multihulls departed first at 12.45UTC with the Cruising class following at 13.00UTC. It was a beautiful day in Las Palmas and a spectacular sight out on the water as the skyline was dotted with white sails. On board, crews from 16 nations were eager to get going. Leading the fleet as they readied to cross the line was Austrian boat Pantiki, a Lagoon 380 who were first across the Multihull start line skippered by Albert Pucher, one of two double-handers in the rally. Chee Hoo, a USA flagged Neel 47 one of the two trimarans in the fleet was next followed by Te Reva, an Outremer 45.
The Cruising Division followed fifteen minutes later, featuring 18 yachts at today’s start. First over the line was Finiens, a Hanse 675 and the largest boat in the fleet at 21.1 metres. Cohiba, a UK flagged Bluewater 476, was second over the line, followed by Another Brick, a Beneteau First 44.7.
The yachts and crews will now adapt to life at sea with quite a change of pace from the pre-departure rush. As the boats get south of Gran Canaria they should pick up some stronger North Easterly trade winds, a lovely start to their ocean crossing. There will doubtless be plenty of discussions onboard the yachts throughout the crossing as each crew decides the route they will take to get the best winds. The classic route of sailing south towards the Cape Verde Islands before heading for the Caribbean is sure to be popular. Their progress can followed on the YB Races App and Fleet Viewer page of the World Cruising Club website.
From the ARC January 2023 departure today, the majority of boats will take 18-21 days to make the 2,700 nautical mile Atlantic crossing, arriving in Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia at the end of January. An exciting arrival programme is planned with each boat being met in Saint Lucia by the yellow shirt team with some rum punch and local fruit and wonderful welcoming atmosphere in IGY Rodney Bay Marina.