ARC Departs Las Palmas in Clear Skies

This year’s ARC includes an expansive list of boats and range of sailors. Fair winds to all those participating.

The 26th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) set sail today from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, bound for Saint Lucia.  A brisk northerly wind and blue sky provided perfect conditions for a downwind start and a swift departure for the first part of the passage across the Atlantic.  217 boats and 1,188 people, including 26 under age 18, are sailing in this year’s edition of the world’s most popular trans-ocean rally.

First boats to cross the start line

While the ARC is a cruising rally, there is a start and finish line, and the boats are split into divisions according to size, type and competition.  At 12:30 GMT, the gun on the Spanish naval ship fired  for the start of the catamarans and open divisions.  First catamaran across the line was Catana 47 Rafale (FRA), followed by Lagoon 620 Foxy Lady (GBR) then Privelège 745 Cattitude (GBR).  With 30 catamarans and one trimaran, this is a record-breaking year for multihull entries in the ARC; making it the largest-ever ocean crossing by catamarans.

The open division was lead by round-the-world veteran maxi Rothmans (SWE), closely followed by trimaran Rayon Vert (FRA) and Med Spirit (RUS), then the ARC’s largest yacht, 31.6m Oceans Seven2 (FRA); all popping their spinnakers as they crossed the line.  Med Spirit and Rayon Vert were both averaging 15 knots as they accelerated away from Las Palmas.

In the IRC racing division, run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC),  the 22-boat fleet was lead across the line at 12.45 by Swan 56 Clem (ESP), Akilaria 40 Vaquita (AUT) and IMX-45 Maline (NOR).  Scarlet Oyster (GBR) headed-up a tight group of five yachts, all flying spinnakers.

The cruising division is the largest group of ARC yachts, with 145 boats.  Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49 Buzios VII (POR) flew their blue and yellow spinnaker across the line at 13:00, and were followed by Shipman 63 Bepa (RUS), Elphin II (GBR), Lazy Days (ITA), Uxorious IV (USA) and Splendid (NED).  The remaining yachts followed closely behind, most staying with white sails.

For the complete story, go to www.worldcruising.com.

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