With the festive season at a close and the new year beckoning, the ARC January office and information centre opened its doors on Thursday 30 December with the World Cruising Club ‘Yellow Shirts’ team welcoming crews to the start of their Atlantic adventure for the inaugural edition of ARC January. As part of the many adaptations to keep rally participants and staff safe, skippers were initially welcomed to the rally by the World Cruising Club team via an Advance Check In call over the past few weeks, and Virtual Safety Inspections have provided some useful pointers to ensure the equipment is all set for the Atlantic crossing ahead.
Under the warmth of the Gran Canarian sunshine, crews have been busy checking off the to-do lists, and starting to get to know one another. Welcome Drinks were held in the Sotavento Centre within the marina last night, with a bounty of local tapas to enjoy with a few glasses of wine or beer.
This morning a Double-Handed Workshop was held on the ARC Platform with yellow shirts Andrew and SWade Pickersgill discussing some of the helpful tactics for sailing a long ocean crossing with only two crew. The crews of Tula, Mrs G and Woolamai all came along and discussed watch patterns, sail plans and boat modifications to make short-handed sailing more comfortable. It can be a daunting prospect for even experienced cruisers taking on an extended voyage across an ocean with only two on board, or as parents of a family, so meeting others ‘in the same boat’ and sharing experiences so far was a useful exercise for all involved.
Also aiding crews with their preparations are a series of seminars and Q&A sessions on useful topics for ocean sailing. Having sailed over 300,000nm and undertaken 27 transatlantic crossings, Chris Tibbs has experienced a few gear failures during his lengthy sailing career, and at 15:00 on Friday 31 December he took participants’ questions on how to best manage emergencies on board, should they occur during the crossing. With prevention always better than cure, it was then over to RYA Yachtmaster and boat manager Will Spencer and Neil Brinsdon from Advanced Rigging to take questions on best practice to look after the yacht’s rig on a long ocean passage.
Las Palmas Marina will certainly start to feel busier as further crew arrive over the weekend, but there are plenty of measures in place to keep all the sailors, local residents and staff safe during the current pandemic. All shore facilities are being cleaned regularly and there is an abundance of sanitation stations around the ARC Offices, Shop and Platform. The restaurants and shops around the marina are also doing an excellent job to welcome participants safely, observing the guidelines and mask mandates for the sake of everyone.
Tonight, the crews of ARC January will welcome in the New Year with the excitement of a great adventure ahead.
We wish all our rally participants, followers, friends and family reading this a very happy and healthy 2022!