With just one week to go until the 35th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers sets off, almost all of the boats have arrived here in Las Palmas and preparations continue in the final days before the start on Sunday 22 November.
The Sunday before the yachts set off on their Atlantic voyage is traditionally the official ARC Opening Ceremony and whilst the fanfare of a parade around the marina is not possible this year, the international flavour of the ARC here in Las Palmas was celebrated nonetheless.
At midday, flags representing all the nations of crews taking part this year were raised on poles along the main marina wall where some of the larger boats in the rally are docked. The ARC is always a global event and this year is no exception with sailors from 29 countries, including: France, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK sailing on the 60 boats in the fleet.
As ever, local people here in Las Palmas look forward to welcoming sailors and their boats from around the world to their wonderful city and today, several came to wander along the promenade to view the spectacle of yachts flying their country flags, sounding their horns, and cheering and playing music from their boats to mark the occasion and start of the final week before they head off on the 2,700nm passage.
Tomorrow, skippers will be able to collect their YB Tracker from the ARC Platform. The trackers send information such as speed, direction and position onto the Fleet Viewer so that friends and family left at home can follow an individual yacht or the whole fleet while they are on their sailing adventure. The online seminar programme also takes place with the ARCs team of experts. Starting with handy tips on using a sextant during the long crossing and a guide to the Atlantic night sky - by ‘Stokey’ Woodall, a respected ocean sailor, author and raconteur. Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club will host a virtual workshop for the doublehanded crews taking part this year and this will be followed by Chris Tibbs’ presentation on managing emergencies at sea. Chris is the ARC weatherman and a well-known ocean sailor with hundreds of thousands of sea miles and experience.