With less than one day to go until the start of ARC+ 2019, the final countdown to departure from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is on. Over 400 cruising sailors are readying their boats now their Atlantic adventure is nearly here and it’s a busy time around the docks as final preparations are made for the first leg of their two stage crossing to Mindelo, Cape Verde.
Last night, crews from yachts taking part in ARC+ were invited to a Farewell Party in the Sotavento Centre. They mixed and mingled over drinks and tapas and following brief speeches from Andrew Bishop and Suzana Tetlow, took to the dancefloor with the live band keeping the hits coming.
Today has been a very busy day for skippers and crews with passport check out and the Skippers’ Briefing taking place. There’s a buzz around the docks as final items are ticked off the jobs list and last minute provisions such as fresh fruit and vegetables are stowed on board.
The ARC yellowshirts were on the platform early this morning, ready to make the formal check out procedure by boat number as efficient as possible. Crew and passport details for every person in the fleet are checked thoroughly and those with crew arriving late, will do the same on the morning of the start.
At the obligatory Skippers’ Briefing, representatives from each crew were given the ARC+ Sailing Instructions, a list of the handicap divisions with class splits and the latest weather and radio net information. World Cruising Club's Andrew Bishop led the briefing, welcoming crews and running through the procedures for tomorrows start.
ARC meteorologist Chris Tibbs then gave the all-important weather forecast, running through the conditions that crews can expect for the first few days at sea. For tomorrow’s start, high pressure to the west will generate a moderate to strong N-NE breeze to see the fleet away from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, set to increase during the afternoon. Sunday night and into Monday, Chris explained that the fleet will see 23-28 knots and make great progress heading south. He reminded skippers about the acceleration zone to the south of Gran Canaria, where the wind increases, and encouraged them to shorten sail as ARC yachts are often caught out here. With several weeks of ocean sailing ahead, no one wants sail repairs or to risk breakages on day one!
Andrew Pickersgill from ARC+ Rally Control then ran through the at-sea communications processes; a vital part of supporting rally skippers during the voyage. Each day, boats are emailed a weather forecast compiled by Weather Routing Inc (WRI) to provide 24 hrs forecast and further 24 hour outlook. Yachts can also receive daily position reports and will keep in touch via the SSB radio net keeping up the fleet camaraderie whilst underway.
The start times of ARC+ 2019 on Sunday 10 November will be as follows:
1245 Start 1: Multihull Division
1300 Start 2: All other Divisions
The best spot on shore to watch the superb spectacle of the boats departure is from the seafront promenade (Avenida Marítima) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The fleet can be tracked on the YB Races app and Fleet Viewer page
, plus many boats will use their YB Trackers to keep in touch with those at home by sending messages, and posts to social media via the YB Connect app.