The 27th ARC fleet is now en route to Saint Lucia. 192 boats started 11/27 in moderate to strong north easterly winds speeding them away from the island.
For the first time in ARC history, the start took place within the busy port of Las Palmas, with the boats maneuvering just outside the marina entrance, before starting on a line between the two harbor breakwaters. Commercial traffic in the port came to a standstill for an hour, and even joined in the fun by hooting their horns.
There was lots of hooting from the yachts too, plus Mexican waves, opera singing from Durlindana II (ITA), and a trumpeter on Karma Daze (GBR). Talulah Ruby II (GBR) crews all wore Santa hats in preparation for a Caribbean Christmas.
The first start was at 1045, with catamarans and the larger cruising boats. First cat was family boat Intrepid Bear (GBR) with young Harry (5), Milly (7) and Thea (9) onboard. The first two big boats were both Oysters: 655 Sotto Vento (GBR) and 82 Raven (GBR).
The second start at 1100 was the cruising division with 155 boats – quite a spectacle! Vendetta (SUI) and Amoress 2(SWE) were both a bit keen and crossed the line before the gun sounded. First true starters were XP-44 Arietta 4.2(ITA), followed by New Zealand Hanse 531 Savarna (NZL) and Swedish-Irish family boat Just Nuts! with Axel (10) and Anna (14) crewing for Mum and Dad.
Three boats remain in port: Oranda III (ESP) will start on Wednesday, and Biba (NED) and Free Spirit (NOR) both have engine problems that they’re hoping to fix soon.
The clear skies just before the start were quickly replaced by total cloud cover bringing squalls of 25 knots and rain showers. The boats were warned about the wind acceleration zones off the island shore, and have prepared by reefing early. Although the weather is a bit unpleasant, it isn’t cold, and the wind direction will enable the boats to bear away towards Saint Lucia almost as soon as they are clear of Gran Canaria. Follow the boats online at www.worldcruising.com/arc/fleetviewer