The ARC is now in full swing in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as the third day of the programme began with a hive of activity on the docks and at the ARC Platform. Almost 100 boats have now arrived, and participants of all ages and nationalities are getting to know one another. They community is building and the jobs lists are out as start day on Sunday 21 November comes ever closer.
Since the office opened on Monday, participants have been checking in with the rally team; receiving lots of information to make the most of their time in Gran Canaria. Within the ARC Shop, representatives from the Tourismo de Gran Canaria are only too happy to share some of the activities on offer to participants to explore beyond the marina. From the dunes of Maspalomas, the traditional towns of Teror and craters and gardens of the islands interior, many participants timed their arrival to spend several weeks in Gran Canaria as there’s so much on offer here.
Back on the boats, the ARC Safety Team has been making visits to check equipment, following up of virtual checks that were held in advance. As a result, the boats are well prepared with the necessary equipment and its just a few final items that are needed to be signed off ready for departure.
Today also saw the start of a series of workshops, seminars and Q&A sessions which are all part of the busy programme scheduled for ARC participants ahead of their start in 11 day’s time. Among the 150+ entries this year, six boats will be sailing shorthanded, like Swedish couple, Anders and Berit Hjort on their Malö 39 Ella, and Blake, Cloud Jumper, Dragonfly, Water Dogs and Zeester, who all have children on board.
It’s always useful to share ideas and tips and one of the attractions of the ARC is that it gives an opportunity for likeminded crews to meet up and share their knowledge with each other. To this end, ARC yellowshirts, SWade and Andrew Pickersgill ran a Double Handed Workshop at Club Maritimo Varadero this morning that was well attended. Headline topics discussed in the open forum included Sailing, Communication, Tiredness, Safety, Provisioning/Comfort. Discussions took place on how best to set up a boat for shorthanded sailing, communications on board, man overboard procedures and such like. Gavin and Valerie on their yacht Water Dogs from Newfoundland, Canada shared a very good technique with the other double handers which allows them easily dock their beamy 46ft catamaran with just two adults on board. This involved staying on board the boat whilst holding the mooring lines equally in both hands (secured at one end) and then making a big loop which can easily be thrown ashore to hook over a cleat or whatever, before pulling the line tight to secure. He says it’s been a game changer since he was shown that technique by a Belgian couple some time ago.
Also sailing across with two young children is Lyall and Katie Burgess on their Dufour 382 Blake. Lyall previously worked for World Cruising Club as an Event Manager, so knows the ARC well. They live in Hawaii, but their boat was chartered with Dream Yacht Charter in Corsica and is now out of the programme so the ARC is the start of their 15 month bluewater adventure. Their children have been used to spending a month or so each year on the boat and for the Atlantic crossing they have made sure they have a good supply of ready-cooked meals and have worked out a suitable watch system between them that will ensure they cope with the tiredness of sailing with just two adults, looking after schooling and keeping their young children occupied during the crossing. They also make sure they all have time together each day and at sundown, both reef the mainsail so that whoever on watch that night it is safe for the night time watch and is set up properly to be sailed by one person.
This evening a welcome drink and tapas for all participants will be held at the Sotovento Centre, giving some of the crews already here in Las Palmas a chance to meet. As more boats arrive and crews fly in daily the ARC is growing by the day in Gran Canaria.