Mayflower Marina in Plymouth has begun to welcome participants set to join ARC Portugal 2019 ahead of their departure from the Plymouth Sound on Sunday 2 June, bound for Bayona in Spain. The offshore passage, due to take 4-6 days, is the first leg of a three week adventure to cross the Bay of Biscay and explore the Portuguese coast on their way to Marina de Lagos on the Algarve.
ARC Portugal has been taking boats south to Marina de Lagos since 1995 and this year marks the 25th edition of the rally. It combines an “ARC style” fleet crossing of Biscay, with social day cruising and sight-seeing along the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal. Each of the stopovers are at enchanting port locations which offer opportunities to conveniently visit historical sights, enjoy local cuisine and experience the warm hospitality of hosting yacht clubs and marinas in Povoa de Varzim, Figueira da Foz, Peniche, Oeiras and Sines. This year’s participants are certainly in for an exciting mix of great sailing and great sightseeing in the weeks ahead.
With twenty yachts participating, the rally has once again attracted a diverse fleet including a mixture of sailors who are new to longer passages and those who have sailed the Atlantic numerous times. A few taking part are familiar faces to World Cruising Club rallies, and for others this is the launch pad to a new liveaboard life in the Algarve or Mediterranean. One boat, Holger Ulrich’s Parker 335 Tohuwabohu is set to continue their offshore adventures with ARC+ later this year.
Rob Fletcher sailed his boat down from Largs to join the start in Plymouth. “Preparations began for us 2 years ago to get our yacht Zafiro, Moody 36CC up to spec and in good shape to tackle an offshore passage. We think we are there but only taking part in the event will answer that question. The published ARC preparation guidance notes have been a valuable source of information, top tips and is a good read. We are now looking forward to meeting everyone at Mayflower Marina next week and setting off on ARC Portugal."
Also beginning their ambitious adventures are Steve Holloway and Judy Aslett. In 2016 they sold their house and moved on board their traditional cutter rigged Hans Christian 48T, Fair Isle
. After spending 30 years as broadcast journalists for the BBC, ITN and CNN, a job which has taken them all over the world, Steve and Judy plan on sharing their experiences from onboard Fair Isle
on their YouTube channel
The organised programme begins on Thursday 30 May when the rally office opens at Plymouth’s Mayflower Marina. Sailing safely is at the heart of all World Cruising Club rallies, and as such each boat will be visited by the team before the start to check appropriate equipment is on board, and the skipper and crew are content to use it should the situation arise. Other activities in Plymouth include provisioning shuttles, a rally briefing and skippers briefing before Sunday’s departure.
Once they leave Plymouth, rally boats receive daily positions, weather forecasts and one another’s contact information to be able keep in touch whilst underway, whilst being monitored by Rally Control (as well asfriends and family) via YB Trackers, which display positions on the WCC website.
As well as the WCC website, the ARC Portugal Facebook Page
will have regular news from the fleet once the programme begins next Thursday. Visit the page for updates over the next three weeks.