Since its inception in 1986 thousands of cruising enthusiasts have enjoyed crossing the Atlantic with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). This year is no exception, with entries racing ahead at 150 yachts by the end of February and set to reach the upper limit of 225 yachts by the end of April.
Commenting on the continuing popularity of the ARC, director of World Cruising Club, Andrew Bishop, said: “The ARC is special and for many cruising sailors it is the “must-do” event on their cruising calendar, whilst for others it provides the inspiration they need to help them achieve their ambitions to set off long distance cruising.” Entry packs for ARC 2008 can be obtained from World Cruising Club or downloaded from the website.
Here is an excerpt from one of the yachts log closing on the finishing line in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia - just to whet your appetite!
Beneteau First 47.7 ARC2007 Racing Division “At dawn a call of “Land Ahoy” filtered down below as we spotted Martinique to our starboard.
‘Gin’ watch, who was at the time the ‘on watch team’, kept this little bus moving whilst ‘Tonic’ file through showers and generally tidy below so that we look just a tiny bit presentable!! The finish line plan is in place, with each crew member in a role; we have two on the bow to record the finish time and hoot our success and a full tacking team in the cockpit ready to beat over the finish line.
The weather as always is blowing a hooley - we expect nothing less anymore, despite the promised 10 knots on all the weather charts. She has made this adventure harder than any one of the crew could have imagined, but they have smiled all the way through. Mother Nature appears not to be prepared to give us a break for one minute in this final push for the line, she still throws us around the boat.
The radio is prickling with chit chat as other yachts make their 5 miles and 2 miles calls to the ARC Finish Line - we are currently 20 miles from the line and I cannot wait for my chance to put in our first 5 mile call. Overall we scrub up pretty well as a team - the corporate shirts are being pulled from the bottom of bags where they were put after race start day for safe and clean keeping. Our run to the line was just as challenging as we tacked across at exactly the same time as another boat, whose name I didn't get. It was still blowing a hooley when we crossed at 13:29 hours local time (17:29 hours UTC).
Vix's mother had managed to get herself into a RIB so was bobbing around in the Bay waiting for us - frantically waving a Spurs flag. The foghorns blew and our little team cheered with delight as we put this race to bed. Pottering into the marina the foghorns blew once more from many of the other yachts to signify our achievement, as they did with every boat that entered which was lovely.
We approached our berth and were met by a whole host of people which was lovely. I must say I am delighted we arrived in daylight - a night time arrival would have been much more subdued! (Note to self - never finish a race in the dark!!!) So - the celebrations began and I was doused in champagne - a terrible waste!!!! We were handed baskets of fruit and rum punches in their quantity from the St. Lucian tourist board which was well received.
Check out the ARC rally website on www.worldcruising.com - now is the time to sign up for the 2008 Rally before it is too late - go for it!!
Reproduced courtesy ARC Worldcruising and their other site for cruising sailors www.noonsite.com
Having completed the ARC twice myself - once as crew and the second time in my own yacht 'Tere Moana' I can recommend it as a thouroughly exciting and enjoyable experience. Apart from the learning curve you will go through, the friends that you make and the experiences you will encounter are irreplacable.
You can read more about the ARC Rally in my ebook 'Voyage of the Little Ship 'Tere Moana' on my website for sailors www.sailboat2adventure.com