With the ARC+ boats now happily at sea, the focus in Las Palmas has shifted to the ARC boats beginning their own preparations. One of the first jobs for every boat is to visit the ARC terrace opposite the popular Sailors Bar and register with the yellowshirts. Every boat in the ARC has to check-in, but what is this all about?Check-in
At Check-in, the skipper or owner comes to the ARC Offices and we check that all the details of the boat and crew are correct. We make sure that all the crew details (names, emergency contacts etc) are correct and hand over the passes for each of the crew. The passes are the entry tickets for the parties, as well as being a great memento of the rally – all crew need a passport photo to personalise their pass. We check that the boat details, including satellite telephone numbers and other communications information are correct so that we can send the weather emails, and contact the boat in case of an emergency.
We also talk through the pre-departure programme to make sure that all participants make the most of their time in Las Palmas. With a busy itinerary of parties, talks and tours, there's lots going on! This year, there are
There is a big pack of discount vouchers from local traders, plus the important skipper's case and the ARC numbers for the boat. We also make a booking for the safety equipment check, and finally ensure that the accounts are all in order.
All boats in the rally are provided with a YB Tracker– this is a remote satellite tracking device. It enables World Cruising Club to monitor the positions of boats at sea during the crossing. The small, self-powered devices are handed out at check-in and tested before departure, then removed on arrival in Saint Lucia. The YB3 tracker can connect via Bluetooth to suitable smartphones or tablets and using the YB Connect app, send and receive messages from email addresses and mobile phones. Skippers can spend the time in Las Palmas setting up these features, giving them extra communications with friends and family whilst they are sailing.
With over 220 boats to meet with, check-ins will continue over the next few days as more boats arrive.
Safety Equipment Inspection
Every boat will have a check lasting around 60 minutes from one of the experienced Safety Inspectors on the ARC Team. Our inspectors make sure that the mandatory safety equipment is installed and ready to be used. We even check that the emergency steering works, so be prepared! If a boat is unprepared, or the equipment is unsuitable, we will expect this to be replaced before the boat is re-checked. Ultimately, we can refuse to allow a boat to start the rally if we are concerned about the safety equipment, but this is extremely rare. Safety Inspectors are here to help resolve any problems with equipment, and ensure everyone leaves Las Palmas for a safe crossing to Saint Lucia.
Plenty of information is provided to boats in newsletters and the Rally Handbook in the months before the start. We always encourage owners to check and double check that their boat complies with our requirements well before they arrive in Las Palmas. Help is on hand for those still with things to do and Rolnautic, the marina chandlery, carries a large stock of ARC required items that are sometimes overlooked. As an example, Thomas and Andrea from Yacht Eleonore were one of the first boats to be checked today. They were asked to add their boat name to the horseshoe buoy, and needed an additional MOB floating device, available form Rolnautic. They can now relax knowing their boat has been checked, and continue with their other preparations for start day.