by Des Ryan
World ARC 2012, run by the World Cruising Club, doesn't start until more than a year from now, but already there are 24 boats who have either confirmed or paid their deposits. While 30 yachts are expected to join at the starting point in St Lucia in the Caribbean and complete the whole journey, other yachts will be joining or departing in Australia.
World ARC route
...and there's an early booking discount to encourage you to commit early.
So far, there are two families with children in the fleet, as well as retirees and people taking a sabattical. The 2012 fleet includes production boats from Beneteau, Jeanneau, X-Yachts and Lagoon, as well as Oyster, Amel and traditional cruising yachts.
In the meantime, the World ARC 2010 fleet are now in South Africa, getting ready for the Atlantic Ocean crossing that will see them in Brazil in early January, in time for Carnival. Every two years, the World ARC takes 16 months to complete, so if you miss out on the 2012 rally, the next one will be in 2014.
For seminars about cruising with the World Cruising Club you can catch up with the experts either at the Atlantic Circuit forum on 8th January 2011 in London at the University of East London Docklands Campus. Here representatives from World Cruising Club and Yachting World magazine will be joined by a panel of experienced cruisers to bring you a broad range of cruising knowledge and expertise. The Forum will discuss the planning and preparation for an Atlantic circuit, with special emphasis on the ARC, and what to expect in terms of weather and equipment issues.
Alternatively you can visit World Cruising Club at the London Boat Show 7-16 January or at Boot Dusseldorf 22-30 January
Find out more about World ARC at www.worldcruising.com/worldarc
Joining a rally does not take any responsibility away from the skipper of each boat, but communication provides not only conviviality but the exchange and sharing of vital information during the voyage.
In an isolated incident the two crew of a yacht participating in the World ARC rally in 2008 were rescued by helicopter after they hit a reef in August 2008 in the Coral Sea.
Asolare, an Amel 54, struck Moore Reef, approximately 52 nautical miles North West of Willis Island in the Coral Sea, whilst en route from Vanuatu to Australia. At 0830 Local time, skipper Peter Turner and crewman Tim Wood were winched aboard the helicopter, which after refuelling at Willis Island Meteorological Station landed the crew at Cairns.
Peter is a veteran sailor with fifty years of experience. He told reporters later that Asolare, launched in June 2007, had been valued at £800,000 but was now unsalvagable. 'Nowhere is nice to smash into a reef,' he said. 'But if I had to choose somewhere this was as good a place as any.
'Our charts did not show any reef in that area at all. We hit the reef really heavily. There was an amazing crash and immediately she turned over on to her side.'