Like all good things, ARC Portugal 2019, the 25th edition, has come to an end. Little did the participants of theis special rally know when they all met in Mayflower Marina, they would bond so well and create all the friendships and experiences they have achieved. Far from a 'typical' sail south to the sun, their challenging Biscay crossing and subsequent day sails blighted by a mixture of light airs, southerly winds, and on one occasion thick fog have created obstacles easily hurdled by great seamanship and shared camaraderie.
But it hasn’t only been sailing. From the first stop in Baiona, in the Spanish community of Galicia, down to Lagos in the south of Portugal, having stopped in Póvoa de Varzim, Figueira da Foz, Peniche, Oeiras and Sines, they were able to get to know each area a bit better, as the tours we had turned very popular amongst the fleet. From the “sardinhas assadas” to the “Porco á Alentejana”. From the “Catedral de Santiago de Compostela” to the Calem Porto Wine Cellar. From the storm “Miguel” in Biscay to the thick fog from Oeiras to Sines. Every single experience will remain in the memories of the ARC Portugal’s 25th edition participants.
This year’s programme in Lagos was a bit different to previous editions. Having an extra day in the last port gave enough time for the participants to go on the final tour of the rally. The majority of the fleet decided to discover another jewel of the Algarve, Sagres and its heritage to the sailing community. Our history professor guide shared the secrets of this area in south west Portugal where crews stopped at the Cape St. Vincent to get an insight personal tour in the inside of the lighthouse and the fort of Sagres.
To mark the end of their journey Marina de Lagos hosted a magnificent evening with welcome drinks and Portuguese cuisine at Waypoint Restaurant. All the boats received a personalized commemorative plaque of the 25th edition of the rally, as well as the prizes that we gave for the Smiley Miley. After several prize-giving celebrations along the rally, it was good to bring all the boats up and recognise them for being part of this historic moment of the rally.
The participants and World Cruising Club recognised the huge contribution that Marina de Lagos, and particularly the management team of Ingrid and Martinho Fortunato had put into the event by presenting a plaque and bouquet to the couple. "We are extremely fortunate to have such generous sponsors in Marina de Lagos." said Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club. "Without their initial support to help launch the rally we would not be here today, and it is testament to them, and in particular the long standing management team of Ingrid and Martinho, that they continue to support the rally, for what is now a long standing sponsorship agreement that has endured the test of time. The win-win sponsorship relationship works well for both of us, and long may it continue.”
Another year and another event is finally over for ARC Portugal in 2019. Boats have successfully achieved crossing Biscay and sailing south to the Algarve. We hope to see a few faces in future World Cruising Club events. Fair winds and following sea.