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Rally sailors rally to plant trees before crossing the Atlantic

by Rachel Hibberd/Sail-World Cruising on 17 Nov 2012
From the forest of masts to the reforest of an island .. .
When you get a group of cruising sailors together there's bound to be a blue/green gene lurking somewhere. This group of cruising sailors, gathered for a rally, is helping their host country re-green their deforested land. It's the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC).

Yes, another 200 trees have just been planted in the ARC Forest on a hillside above the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.


Fifty five ARC sailors spent the morning away from their boats, and instead of their normal tasks - preparing their boats to cross the Atlantic, they dug holes and planted trees. The volunteers came from six countries, and included 9 children aged from 3 years.

ARC Forest Project:
This is the third year of tree planting, and the new forest already covers an appreciable area of mountainside in the Doramas region of the Island of Gran Canaria. Donations ensure that local charity Fundacion Foresta is able to care for the saplings for the next 10 years, by which time they will be mature and home to a wide range of wildlife.

The ARC Forest is part of a wider initiative by Canaries-based Fundacion Foresta to establish woodland corridors on the islands, linking the few remaining areas of native forest. This will enhance biodiversity, protect native species, reduce soil erosion and flooding, and become a natural resource for islanders and tourists.

Carbon Offset:
This is not just a home-grown initiative by ARC participants. All ARC sailors are encouraged by the ARC organisers, the World Cruising Club, to consider their impact on the environment. Recycling is supported, and waste disposal at sea discouraged. Boat owners can offset the carbon value of their fuel tanks, and funds raised support the forest projects in Gran Canaria and Saint Lucia.
ARC Boats

The ARC entry list stands at 232 boats, the majority of which are family cruisers, sailed by family and friends on the adventure of a lifetime. Multihulls are again popular, with 21 booked for the crossing.


View the full ARC entry list at www.worldcruising.com/arc/entries.aspx

Start from Gran Canaria:
Las Palmas has been the start port for the ARC since the very first edition of the rally in 1986. Around one third of the boats are already in the marina, with the remainder arriving over the next two weeks.

Official activities began on 12 November and from now until the start there are parties, seminars and all kinds of activities for ARC sailors young and old.

Start day is Sunday 25 November, and thousands of spectators will line the city shore to watch the boats start. The first start gun will sound at 1230 for the Multihulls, followed by the RORC Racing Divisions at 1245 and the Cruising Divisions at 1300.

ARC boats will make landfall in IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia after 2700NM of sailing. This distance will take the fastest boats around 12 days, and the family cruisers 18 to 21 days.

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