LAS PALMAS, Spain — The 2018 edition Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) – the world’s largest transocean rally for cruisers – prepared to set sail from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands on Sunday heading for Saint Lucia.
Coming to see the crew’s preparations and personally wish them well on the voyage, Guy Mayers, High Commissioner for Saint Lucia in London, promised the sailors warm weather and a warm welcome when they arrive in Rodney Bay.
The ARC fleet will set off this year with 178 entries from 30 different countries and is truly a multinational celebration that showcases the international flavour of the rally. The attraction to sail in company as one fleet has continued to have undaunted appeal. Some will be on their first crossing, whilst others are making their umpteenth voyage. Fifteen boats will be sailing across with children and 32 will be part of a family adventure this year, with the youngest crew member being 18 months old on the Dutch yacht Chubby Bunny.
The ARC is very diverse and attracts boats of all sizes and design. This year is no exception; the smallest being the British Halmatic 30, Excalibur at 8.99m, and then there’s the mighty Maltese flagged 39m Vitters one-off, G2 at the larger end of the size range – and everything in between. There has been a significant swing towards multihulls this year and 36 catamarans will be on the start line.
The average cruising boat can expect to arrive in their final destination at Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, in 18 to 21 days, but the competitive Racing Division, which will see 21 boats vying for position, will hope to reach the rum punch much sooner.