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ARC Portugal FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum size of boat and crew? 8.23m (27’) length overall (LOA) with at least two people on board.

How long will the rally take?  A typical Biscay crossing is around 4 days. Other stages are day sails, the longest of which is 75NM

When does the rally start?  ARC Portugal 2024 starts in Plymouth on 9 June.

My boat is already in France or the Rias  Boats can join the rally in Bayona, please ask if you are interested in this option.  Call +44 (0)1983 296060 or [email protected]

Can I use my engine?  This is a cruising rally, so use of engines is OK!  Boats in the fun competition Cruising Division must declare their engine hours for their results to be calculated.  

What safety equipment do I need?  We have a list of mandatory and recommended safety equipment that we will inspect on board the boat before the rally starts. This includes:

  • Approved ocean liferaft with more than 24 hour equipment pack
  • 406MHz EPIRB
  • Lifejackets with crotch straps and spray hoods for all crew and personal AIS beacon
  • Full flare pack

See the Safety & Support Page for more details and links to the full requirements.

What training should I do?  We recommend that the skipper (captain) and at least one of the crew should have done some safety and communications equipment, heavy weather sailing and emergency management training within the last five years.   

You can learn more about the rally and tips for preparing your boat and crew by attending one of our boat show forums, or 2 day residential seminars. We also have a number of handy videos on our YouTube channel.

Do I need an SSB radio?  No, but crossing Biscay you will be outside of VHF range most of the time. Previous participants have recommended buying or renting a satellite phone to make calls and send/receive emails.

What communications equipment do I need? Crossing the Bay of Biscay takes boats offshore and away from land based mobile phone coverage. We recognise that you may not need offshore communications once you have completed this passage, therefore boats that do not have satellite communications fitted, are required to have an active YB Connect Account for communications via the loaned YB Trackers. 

Can I take my children?  Families with children of all ages have sailed in ARC Portugal, and all are welcome. 

How do I find crew?  Personal recommendations are the best way of finding crew, but you can also register free on Ocean Crew Link to look for crew or respond to adverts. 

What about visas?  We will provide information about visas in the Rally Handbook, and the country information pages on are also helpful.  EU nationals will not need visas for the rally.

Can I take my pets?  We have no restrictions on the animals you carry on your boat, but you must comply with the laws and regulations for your home country and any countries visited by the rally. We will provide advice in the Rally Handbook, or look up the country information on

How many people take part?  ARC Portugal usually has around 20 boats, some crewed with couples, others with larger family groups or friends.

What about support on the rally?  There will be a team of friendly 'yellow shirts' in each rally port.  They will help with registration, local contacts, docking, excursions, social activities and emergencies.  You can also contact the World Cruising Club office at any time [email protected] or call +44 (0)1983 296060

How can families at home stay in touch with the boats?  All boats will be fitted with a satellite tracker for the Biscay crossing (minimum), which will display the boats positions on the online Fleet Viewer.  All boats can also blog for free on the rally website.

What about onward cruising?  Many ARC Portugal boats continue cruising together after the rally, exploring the Mediterranean and northern Africa. Some crews use ARC Portugal as a shake-down for an Atlantic crossing with the ARC - it's a great way to get into the rally spirit!