With less than 24 hours to go until the start of their Atlantic adventure with ARC January 2022, the final countdown to departure from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is on. Skippers and crews boats have completed the final check-out and will enjoy their last night on shore before their 2700nm crossing to Saint Lucia tomorrow morning.
Today has been a very busy day for skippers and crews with the formal passport check out by ARC yellowshirts and the all-important Skippers’ Briefing taking place online via Zoom. Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club welcomed skippers to the webinar and together with Event Manager Andrew Pickersgill summarised the sailing instructions, including course, at-sea communications and local information for arrival in Saint Lucia.
ARC meteorologist Chris Tibbs gave the all-important weather forecast, running through the conditions that crews can expect for the first few days at sea. He forecasted pleasant 13-18knts of breeze at start time, which will tend to ease and back though the afternoon and the first few days at sea should be a nice introduction for their ocean crossing with light trade winds. He strongly advised the classic, ‘sailing south until the butter melts’ route, which provides more certainty and favourable conditions due to a developing low pressure system just north of the rhumb line.
With deliveries of last minute provisions such as fresh fruit and vegetables, collection of washing and making sure everything is properly stowed on board, there’s a lively atmosphere and buzz around the dock. ‘We’re ready to go!’ was a familiar phrase echoed as the skippers came to complete their final paperwork with ARC January Rally Control this afternoon and anticipation is at an all time high.
Over the past 10 days, crews have enjoyed a rally program adapted to local protocols, ensuring crews are prepared and safe to set to sea. Online seminars, safety checks, and a Farewell Drinks event have provided a crucial framework for their rally departure, giving an opportunity to learn from ocean crossing experts and meet their fellow participants. PCR testing was organised within the marina to comply with Saint Lucia's Health Protocols, with crews issued with a negative result to set sail with ARC January 2022.
Tomorrow, Sunday 9 January, there will be two starts; the first at 12:45 for the Multihull Division, and 13:00 for the Cruising Division.