There’s a high level of excitement, with a mix of slight apprehension and eagerness of crews around the docks today as everyone prepares for the off tomorrow! With less than a day to go, the culmination of months, even years of planning to make this huge adventure a reality, is finally coming to a head. It’s time to stow the last of the provisions; fresh fruits, vegetables and such like, plus complete any last minute jobs. There were still the final formalities for the skipper of every boat in the ARC rally to complete before heading off on what, for many, will be their longest ocean passage and greatest adventure yet!
After a busy time here in Las Palmas, the clock is ticking and it’ll soon be time to say ‘farewell’ to our hosts here on the welcoming island of Gran Canaria, before slipping lines and heading to the start of the 35th ARC on Sunday with the Racing Division start at 12:45, followed by the Cruisers and Multihulls at 13:00. However, today was a long and important one for rally skippers who joined a live ARC Skippers Briefing held online, to hear the latest news on the weather and routing for the 2,700nm crossing to Saint Lucia, as well as other important information such as explaining the start procedure, Sailing Instructions and details on what to do on arrival in the Caribbean.
After skippers made sure they had visited the Frontier Police, who made themselves available in the marina office for ARC skippers, it was time for a last visit to the ARC yellowshirts on the platform to complete final check-out formalities, including showing the passports of every crew member on board.
Following a somewhat hectic last day, relaxing and settling down for the night with perhaps a special crew dinner, thoughts of the 300+ international crews will be turning to what lies ahead. Many participants have sailed across the Atlantic numerous times, but for many, this will be their first ever ARC. Some will be sailing doublehanded, many with family and friends – and most in the cruising division, but a handful will be racing their way over. One thing is for sure, that the bon voyage participants will received from locals who come out to watch the start, and their ARC experience in what has been a very difficult year for all, will be made even more special by marking their farewell with a wonder firework display over the marina. The lure of the tropics and glass of rum is calling….