After a week of blistering heat the weather has started to turn here in Plymouth where the ARC Portugal 2021 yachts are now gathered at Mayflower Marina in preparation for their departure on Sunday morning. Having completed virtual safety equipment checks in advance there has still been the inevitable last minute rushing around for the last minute items needed to complete the checks, and provisioning for the passage to Bayona on the Galician coast, some 550 nautical miles away. There is an air of apprehension and eager anticipation, as for most this will be their first crossing of the Bay of Biscay. Crews are still arriving, with half the yachts sailing with more than two for the crossing to Bayona; international travel protocols have been a challenge for some, although sensibly all the core crews are double vaccinated.
A rally briefing this evening covers what lays in store ahead as the yachts sail on from Bayona along the Portuguese coast to Marina de Lagos, where the rally is due to end on 18 August. For now the focus is on final preparations, and the hope of a settled forecast for the Biscay crossing.