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Open and ready to welcome ARC+ in Las Palmas

The wait is over for those who have already arrived in Las Palmas as the ARC+ office and information centre opened on Wednesday 27th October, with the World Cruising Club ‘Yellow Shirts’ team welcoming crews from around the world to the start of their Atlantic adventure. Following months of preparation and planning, finally ARC+ 2021 has commenced. Let the fun begin!

With over 70 boats already in Las Palmas Marina ahead of the start, the flurry of ARC+ rally flags flying high amidst the Canarian blue sky, makes a colourful sight. The unique atmosphere and buzz created by the influx of participants from 26 different nations is welcomed by all and signals the start of this eagerly anticipated annual event. It’s great to be back…

As the ARC+ doors opened, it was good to meet in person those joining the rally for the first time, as well as others who have taken part several times before. As part of the adaptations in line with the current COVID guidelines, many had already had a Virtual Check-in, providing information about the programme, seminars and presentations lined up for the days ahead. Skippers came by during the day to meet the WCC team and to confirm their arrival before collecting their rally briefcase - full of important and useful information - and to book a slot for the all-important Safety Check with Hamble School of Yachting’s Roger Seymour.


Coming up this week are some key social events on the ARC+ programme, which kicks off on Thursday. Although group restrictions are still in place, all participants can look forward to attending the Welcome Drinks, optional Crew Dinners and Farewell Drinks before departure. There’s also plenty of opportunity to glean even more knowledge from the team of expert lecturers; with participants being able to attend live talks on site and others via Zoom online.

Next week the varied programme begins and includes seminars, information and participant Q&A sessions covering a wide variety of topics, including: emergency navigation, management of emergencies, rigging Q&A, a double handed workshop, satellite communications, provisioning, wonders of the sky, SSB net controllers briefing, Grenada preview and route and weather guide for the Atlantic crossing. The SAR Air-Sea helicopter demonstration with a chance to watch a simulated evacuation of a casualty from a yacht by the rescue services is always popular.

ARC+ always attracts a large number of family boats and this year is no exception, with 20 boats sailing across to Grenada with a record 43 children on board, aged between 1 to 16 years. The majority of family boats are already gathered together on ‘S’ Dock in Las Palmas Marina and some of the children have met already as they made their way down to the Canaries. The ARC+ Kids programme in association with Federacion de Vela and fun afternoon this weekend will ensure activities such as dinghy sailing and games will give them all a chance to get to know one another, even if they don’t speak each other’s language.

Families and all ARC+ participants will certainly enjoy a trip out of the marina this weekend as they head up into the hills of Gran Canaria where they will help plant trees as part of the ARC Forest project on Sunday. More than 2,000 trees have been planted, contributing to the island’s environment and helping to support the ecosystem.

With 77 boats in this year’s ARC+, the World Cruising Club team in Las Palmas look forward to welcoming the remainder of those still to arrive and to getting the ARC+ 2021 programme off to a full swing.

To keep up with all the news, please visit the Facebook page at: and via Twitter @ARCrally.

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