ARC Europe & ARC USA sets sail from the BVI

07 May 2016

It was a pretty relaxed morning on the docks in Nanny Cay as all of the boats had managed to clear Customs & Immigration the day before and also checked out with the rally office.  All that was left to do was pick up some long sleeve tech tees (but not to be used for navigation!) and sign the rally flag - best quote so far was from 'Testarossa - we're all here, but we're not all there..'  Several crews were spotted enjoying a last big breakfast ashore in Genakers cafe - best on the island mon!

Conditions for the start were pretty ideal with a nice breeze from the SE of around 16 knots coming across the Francis Drake Channel.  Boats began to slip lines around 11am as the start was just a half mile outside the entrance to the marina.  The start line was set in a north-south direction with boats crossing from east to west heading down the channel before routing to the north between the USVI and BVI and into the open ocean.  Many boats buzzed passed the committee boat, when it was in place to identify themselves and get a cheer and a wave.  There was also a RIB out taking photos and the drone piloted overhead got some fantastic videos and photos.

The countdown on the VHF helps identify the starting sequence and add to the atmosphere and when it came down to the final minute boats were fast approaching on port tack with wind on the beam/port quarter.  It was one of the closer starts we have had for a while with the first boat across the start line being the Dufour 560 'Pure Elegance' just crossing before 'Seaside' and 'GarliX'.

'Apsaras', the Advanced A80, gave the committee boat a good show heeling right over in a small gust to expose their hull as they picked up a few places within a short period.  With boat after boat crossing the line it wasn't too long before they were all across and making a great panoramic photo against the backdrop of the green islands and blue sky.  

'Ximera' smiling for the RIB

The catamaran 'Nimble' was the only ARC USA boat going to Florida to take the start as the veterans had all got an early morning headstart.  Although it is a non competitive leg it was great to have Nimble out enjoying the start with the rest of the rally boats. 

With a farewell and thank you from the Nanny Cay management team for a great week and fun times the boats were soon making miles and so Rally Control wished them all fair winds and safe sailing to Florida and Bermuda.