After a day of final preparations at Mayflower Marina on Saturday, busy provisioning and settling in new crew, the afternoon ended with the skippers briefing for the first leg of the rally to Bayona. Andrew Bishop led the briefing, joined over Zoom by weather guru Chris Tibbs for a comprehensive weather brief for the leg, forecasting almost ideal conditions for the Biscay crossing. Afterwards crew enjoyed a socially distanced glass or two of Spanish sparkling wine on the dock together before heading out for their independent crew suppers.
Sunday dawned, and it was time for the off! Overcast, dry, and light airs – not ideal for the start from the line between the Hoe and the Mountbatten Breakwater, but enough of a zephyr to see the yachts heading off on the ebb tide, with favourable winds due to build during the afternoon. First across the line was Khamsin, with the light northerly breeze taking them away from the Plymouth coastline. The ARC Portugal yachts have 550 miles to enjoy ahead of them, with the first yachts expected to make landfall in Bayona late on Wednesday or early Thursday. Whilst a smaller group than normal everyone was appreciative that the rally is going ahead in these uncertain times, and are understanding that challenges may lay ahead for their future cruising plans.