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The Class of ARC 2017

The famous ARC Seminars got underway today in Las Palmas, with hundreds of participants attending the hour-long specialist presentations taking place at the Real Club Nautico. Seminars are dedicated to a whole range of topics about ocean cruising, and feature talks from experienced ocean sailors and industry specialists.

Chris Tibbs started the day of seminars off with his tips on Emergency Management. Resident ARC rigger Jerry Henwood then followed by sharing plenty of practical advice and common problems encountered with one of the most important parts of the boat – the rig.

With 15 boats sailing the ARC this year with just two crew on board, the Double-Handed Workshop and Lunch provided an excellent forum for the short-handed crews to meet one another, and compare their plans for the crossing. WCC’s Andy Bristow has sailed many thousands of ocean miles short handed, including as part of a two man crew sailing to Arctic Svalbard. He led today’s forum with input from Chris and Helen Tibbs, who sailed much of their World ARC adventure double-handed. The most highlighted point was the fact that “double handed sailing is single handed sailing 24 hours a day”. A yacht properly set up to be sailed by one person will result in a happier, better rested, better functioning crew for the crossing. Communication between the crew members was also discussed, particularly important if you are spending almost 3 weeks at sea with only one another for company. Watch patterns, sail set up and coping with tiredness were also all highlighted for discussion, before crews headed for lunch at the Club restaurant.

In the afternoon, Chris Tibbs took to the stage once again for his Route and Weather presentation which was packed out to standing room only. A choice of routes are ahead for the passage to the Caribbean; head south until the butter melts or sail the rhum line to the rum?

Following on, Claire Pengelly began her talk on all things Provisioning with plenty of handy pointers for crew stocking up for the crossing. She has been in Las Palmas and Saint Lucia meeting hundreds of ARC boats over the years leaving her with a wealth of knowledge about planning meals, water consumption, contingency plans if a fridge or freezer fails, and how best to store all manner of items to keep them fresh for as long as possible – including keeping eggs away from diesel, carrots in tin foil, and handy gadgets for the best cup of tea! Meals at sea become an important part of daily life on board and carefully planning suitable meals can be the key to crew harmony. Luckily Las Palmas is an excellent port for stocking up, and local butchers, grocers and supermarkets are happy to assist crews with delivering appropriate items to the marina.

Rounding off the day, Chris covered Tips for Downwind Sailing as the ARC boats will hopefully be rocking and rolling to Saint Lucia on the trade winds. He talked through different sail combinations, and potential areas of chafe or additional wear. With an element of friendly competition in the ARC, he also talked about getting the best performance and the debate of VMG versus heading straight for the finish line.

Most ARC seminars are repeated during the second week when many more crew are expected to come and join their boats in Las Palmas. After a busy day of learning, it’s now time of a well earned ARC sundowner! Class dismissed!

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