Socials, Seminars and Safety Demos

09 November 2018

Things are hotting up in Las Palmas as the first of three route departures moves closer every day. Seminars and socials have been exceptionally popular with ARC+ participants, with great attendance and enthusiasm for each of the events on the pre-departure programme creating quite a buzz around Muelle Deportivo. On Wednesday, crews transformed themselves with creative carnival outfits for the ARC+ Costume Party which is always one of the social highlights,  themed this year for ‘A night in Rio’. With prizes on offer for the best costumes, crews arrived adorned in feathers and sequins as the Club Maritimo Varadero was transformed to reflect Brazil’s capital city carnival.


Returning the focus to their transatlantic sail ahead, Thursday saw a day of safety demonstrations with Roger Seymour from Hamble School of Yachting providing crews with a great opportunity to get hands on experience with equipment that all ARC+ boats carry but hopefully never need to use. Being prepared should the worse happen whilst out at sea and knowing how to cope in an emergency is really important for yacht crews and the experienced Safety Team were on hand to answer any questions and demonstrate the practicalities of using some of the key items.

Opening proceedings, the rumble of SASEMAR helicopter echoed around the marina as they circled around the ‘victim’ vessel off the Northern Breakwater. Participants watched as the diver was lowered, and then saw the procedure for removing a casualty by hi-line transfer.

A flare demonstration was then conducted to enable any crew that had not experienced the use of flares or seen them ignited before to get some hands on experience with these safety devices. Demonstrations of the safe ignition of the orange smoke and the red handheld flare were provided and participants were then invited to fire off some recently expired flares, a great practice exercise, as you never know what conditions you might be in when you have to do it for real!

With the temperature rising, crews were then only too happy to cool off with the liferaft demonstration at the rooftop pool of the Club Varadero. Guided through the demonstration, they were shown how to deploy a liferaft, board it (easier said than done) and recover the liferaft should it capsize. Participants enjoyed the morning of safety information, and were very happy to have either their memory jogged on important safety issues or for some, learning some vital safety techniques for the first time.

On Friday morning, supporters of the ARC from the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Patronato de Turismo de Gran Canaria, Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the Autoridad Portuaria de Las Palmas gathered to present the 2018 edition of the rally to the local press. Assembling on the ARC platform, journalists from over a dozen publications came to hear about the importance of the ARC to the local community of Las Palmas and the wider promotion of Gran Canaria as a tourist destination attracting sailors and holidaymakers from all over the world.

Speaking on behalf of ARC World Cruising Club, Andrew Bishop made the point that the City has built a solid reputation in the global sailing community as ‘the’ place to start an Atlantic sailing journey, and this opinion was regardless of whether yachts sailed in the ARC rally or of their own accord. In 2017, the direct revenue of the ARC in Las Palmas exceeded 3.2m€ and Señor Juan Jose Cardona, Presidente del Autoridad Portuaria de Las Palmas (President of the Port Authority), explained that these financial benefits were felt across all industry sectors, from the marine and port industries to the hospitality industry, and the Rally’s presence here provided long-term promotional benefits for the City of Las Palmas and the island of Gran Canaria to an amount far greater than the direct income during the ARC’s physical time here. He stated that these strong economic benefits of ARC’s presence City over the years has been directly responsible for the continued evolution and technological advancement of the Port of Las Palmas and its now extensive marine servicing facilities.

Señorita Inés Jiménez, Consejera de Turismo del Cabildo de Gran Canaria (Tourism Minister for the Local Govt), said that the ARC is a world-class event and thoroughly enjoyed by all the people of Las Palmas who feel a strong sense of pride to be able to host thousands of foreign crews each year.

As the backdrop to today’s Press Conference, it was evident to see that the marina is certainly filling up. Final preparations are underway for the ARC+ fleet's departure on Sunday 11th November, and the continuous arrival of boats from the ARC fleet, who set off two weeks after them. Participants pioneering the new ARC+ St. Vincent route will continue their preparations for a few more days ahead of their departure for the Cape Verdes, scheduled for Thursday 15th November.