Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the 'home port' of the ARC since the very first edition of the rally in 1986. It is a natural departure point for boats crossing the Atlantic from Europe to the Caribbean, and all summer and autumn boats will converge on the port of Las Palmas from northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Gran Canaria is located at the edge of the tradewind belt, so boats leaving the Canary Islands will sail south (until the butter melts, as the saying goes) until they pick up the north east tradewinds which then blow them west across the Atlantic. The ARC starts in late November when the tradewinds become established, and the boats arrive at the end of the Caribbean hurricane season.
Visit the official Gran Canaria website to discover more.
Muelle Deportivo: Las Palmas Marina
The marina in Las Palmas is large enough to accommodate the entire ARC fleet, plus local boats. It is run by the government and rates are inexpensive compared to privately-operated marinas in the area.
Muelle Deportivo, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
A tour of the marina - film by WCC/Kieran Higgs
ARC Start Day
The start of the ARC is something very special - it's not often you can watch or be part of a large fleet of boats setting off across an ocean! Start day begins with the local brass band marching around the marina, serenading the boats as they make final preparations and say goodbye.
The boats begin departing the marina from 10:00, and the first official start is at 12:30, with the main fleet of Cruising Division boats crossing the line at 13:00. The start happens offshore and south of the marina, and spectators line the city shore to watch.
If the wind is good, the boats will sail quickly south, and will soon be out of sight as they start their Atlantic adventure.