Friday 17 November marked the official Opening Ceremony of the 28th ARC, with Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of the World Cruising Club declaring the crossing officially “open”. The crews were greeted in Las Palmas by a festival atmosphere with hundreds of ARC participants taking part in the grand parade. The crossing was first made in 1986 and has been run every year since, with the departure port remaining constant.
Some 226 boats will make this year’s 2,700 nautical mile crossing after departing the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 24 November, bound for Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia. The ARC always experiences a large variety of boats, with the majority of the 226 entrants being family cruisers being sailed by family and friends on the adventure of a lifetime. In the cruising division alone, entrants vary from the French 9.14m Avel Biz to the comparatively larger 21.77m Zenara from Great Britain. The duration of the crossing varies from boat to boat, with the family cruisers expected to take between 18-21 days.
The crews now have a matter of days to prepare themselves for the crossing, with the first gun sounding on the 24th at 12.30 for the multi-hulls, closely followed by the racing divisions at 12.45 and lastly, the cruising divisions at 1300. Thousands of spectators are expected to line the city shore to give the crews a warm send off. The final festivity of ARC 2013 will take place after the entrants have arrived in St Lucia, in the Caribbean with rewards being awarded in many categories including the fastest boat and in special categories such as ‘Spirit of the ARC’.