There’s less than 24 hours to go until the start of ARC+ St. Vincent; a new route enabling even more sailors to cross the Atlantic under the ARC banner this year. Having waved off their friends on the ARC+ route last Sunday, the past few days have given them time to focus on their own preparations and enjoy the intimacy of their group.
Last night, a special Farewell Dinner was held for the fleet at El Pantalan on the top floor of the Sotavento Centre. It was a great evening full of conversation and it’s clear that the crews in this fleet have really bonded as they prepare to pioneer the new Caribbean destination.
Bob and Megan Lamovec on Blue Infinity were on the ARC Platform today to check out, and said meeting other sailors has been one of the real attractions of the rally so far. “When we first looked in to doing this, we didn’t have any connection with the cruising community. Joining ARC+ has meant we could meet lots of people who knew far more than us, and give us some guidance on what to do and where to go. It’s been great, people have been so helpful and it’s a really cool community.” said Megan, who’s celebrating her birthday today!
ARC+ St. Vincent will be their first ocean crossing and it was quite a sudden decision to buy a boat in Europe and set off. “The whole thing has been kind of a left-field idea,” explained Bob, from Wisconsin, USA. “When we bought the boat, we had hardly sailed. We’ve found crew through Ocean Crew Link who bring loads of experience – they’re from Italy, the UK and USA so we have quite a mix on board. We’re definitely feeling the excitement, and perhaps a little anxious too, but really we just can’t wait to get out there.”
Earlier in the week, low pressure system developing near Gibraltar had the possibility of disrupting their start, but thankfully, as Chris Tibbs explained in the pre-departure Weather Briefing, this is no longer a concern. Departing tomorrow will give them a gentle introduction to ocean sailing, and light winds are forecast for the start. Whilst these will increase a little later on Thursday, Chris advised that boats may need to motor as they head south of Gran Canaria to pass efficiently through patches of little wine. This will enable them to keep making steady progress and later in the passage they can benefit from the light trade winds by aiming slightly to the west of the rhumb line.
Felipe Urrutia from Colombia is sailing the largest boat in the fleet, his new Discover 55 Amaman. He has been planning the adventure for a decade, and cannot wait for it to begin. “We have been here for nearly three weeks and whilst we have enjoyed it, we feel it is about time to go. We’re ready. Watching the ARC+ fleet enjoy beautiful weather has been hard for us here. Our forecast may not be so good, but that’s sailing!”
Tonight will see ARC St. Vincent crews enjoy a quiet sundowner with the ARC crews, before they prepare to leave Muelle Deportivo late tomorrow morning. Their start will set off at 13:00 from outside the marina, with the old town of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria providing a wonderful backdrop as they wave goodbye.
Marina Mindelo is waiting for them: