The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (& Racers).
Peta Stuart-Hunt reports on the final stages of preparation for an international fleet of entries
The 24th edition of the world-famous annual transatlantic rally, the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) has defied the economic doom and gloom and 218 yachts will head off from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 22nd November 2009 en route to Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia.
Not only is there a distinctly healthy entry number, but there is also a record 32 nations represented in this year’s event, underlining the fact that the ARC is now an international event and the most popular way to sail across the Atlantic. The 2,700 nautical mile passage on the NE trade wind route takes the fleet, on average, between 14 and 21 days to reach its destination and the finish line.
Cruising or Racing, the ARC offers something for everyone
Whilst fundamentally a fun rally for cruising yachts, the ARC also offers a more serious Racing Divisions, run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). Yachts entered in the Racing Divisions are not permitted to use their engines for propulsion (unlike the cruisers), although use of autopilots is allowed.
This year for the very first time, the yachts in the ARC Racing Divisions will carry Yellowbrick satellite tracking devices. This compact and powerful technology developed by Yellowbrick Adventure Tracking, will provide a significant benefit for participants with automatic position reports uploading to the WCC website every six hours via the Iridium Network.
The ARC distinguishes itself by successfully combining racing and cruising yachts with a mix of older and younger participants, all of whom thoroughly enjoy the varied entertainment that is on offer for all ages at both the start and finish ports.
From the outset in 1986 when the first ARC was run, this unique event has developed its own special character. Over the past 23 years many friendships have been forged in the relaxed atmosphere, and the profound sense of camaraderie has become the hallmark of this very special rally that entices people back year after year.
Since January 2006, the ARC has been run by the Cowes-based independent event management company World Cruising Club Ltd, following a management buy out from the Challenge Business. WCC always has the best interests of the participants in mind and will always try to incorporate the most popular ideas and proposals put forward to improve the event. This was the main reason for a switch in the ARC destination from Barbados to Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia back in 1990.The yachting facilities are superior to those available in Barbados and for the first time it was possible to have all the yachts in one marina at the end of the Rally, as they were before the start, thus providing a better atmosphere.
Notes for Editors
- ARC 2009 will depart from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 22 November.
- The finish destination is Rodney Bay Marina in St Lucia, a distance of 2,700 nautical miles from Las Palmas and it’s a passage that will take most of the yachts between 18 and 21 days.
- Whilst fundamentally a fun rally for cruising yachts, the ARC does have a more serious Racing Division, run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). Yachts in the Racing Division are not permitted to use their engines for propulsion (unlike the cruisers), although use of autopilots is allowed.
- The current ARC course record is 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds, held by Italian maxi yacht Capricorno (Rinaldo Del Bono), from ARC 2006
- ARC Official Entry list – www.worldcruising.com/arc
- ARC 2009 is sponsored by the Tourist Board of Gran Canaria, the Port Authority of Las Palmas, the St Lucia Tourist Board, Rolnautic, and is run in association with Yachting World magazine.