Saturday morning skippers and their first mates attended their first briefing presented by Andrew Pickersgill and Roger Seymour. They listened eagerly, learning more details about their route, the fine weather and sailing conditions they can expect for at least the first couple of days of the rally.
On return to the marina, some participants were grateful to take advantage of the shuttle bus kindly lent to us by the local sailing charity ‘Horizons’, to go shopping for last minute provisions. The yellow shirt team walked the pontoons, taking crew photos before departure - apart of course from those crew who were not aboard, but were ashore watching the FA Cup Final !
Sunday began early, with a queue of skippers at the ARC office awaiting to check out, so that they could prepare their boat and crews for departure in good time. By 08.15 all crews were checked out, the ARC office closed and the Yellow Shirt Team were on their way to the start, shoreside at the Hoe Cannons.
The team were soon joined by participants’ family and friends, excited to wave the boats off. Sofa So Good was first to arrive at the start area, closely followed by A’assifa, with her mainsail hoisted, treating us to a quick practice with her Code Zero. As the fleet gathered in the early sunshine and light winds, there was a good deal of excitement and emotion both aboard and ashore.
At 09.00 the flags were dropped, a long horn sounded and a tight group of ten yachts sped over the line, closely followed by the remaining eight, to cheers and waves from supporting friends and family. The fleet looked spectacular, as they sailed off into the distance, to begin their Portugal adventure. Fair winds Arc Portugal 2023!