The Rally Office for ARC Portugal 2022 opened first thing this morning marking the start of this year’s edition with heightened excitement as the post pandemic fleet look forward to almost a month of cruising, tours and social events.
Attracting a diverse fleet of 20 boats in total, 15 are gathering here in Plymouth to cross the Bay of Biscay together and then meet up with the remaining 5 at the first stop in Spain.
The ARC Portugal Yellowshirt team started check-ins with a queue of skippers waiting for the office to open at 09:00hrs to receive their ARC Portugal briefcases, T-Shirts, programmes and YB Trackers together with all the information for what their next three weeks of Rally life will bring.
Coupled with the check-in process, the safety team were poised ready to start their rounds, confirming each boat is adequately equipped for the journey. An encouraging number were ready for an inspection on the first morning, with James on Arkyla, a Regina 43, saying “….it was much less daunting than I had anticipated.”
The first boat to hoist the ARC Portugal flag and dress overall was Katy, a Westerly Konsort. with skipper Gary O’Grady adding that extra boost to start the rally spirit on the docks, closely followed by several of his fellow participants.
This evening, the crews will be gathering at the Plymouth Corinthian for an informal supper, the first one of many, where they’ll be able to share tips and stories of their journey to the marina and get to know each other better over drinks and nibbles. It will also give them the perfect opportunity to talk about the different ways each boat has approached their preparation towards the rally and sneak a look at Sunday’s start line.
The first leg of the rally will start on Sunday morning with the Plymouth Corinthian’s flagpole as the start line. This historic area off Plymouth Hoe out to Plymouth Sound will offer a spectacular view as all yachts gather in the bay before the start signal. They then head off across the Biscay towards warmer temperatures and Galician sailing town of Bayona some 550nm to the south.