For more than 10 years, the world's most famous rally, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), has been unable to increase the number of yachts it accepted, owing to limitations on berthing in Las Palmas where the rally begins. With the Christmas Caribbean Rally, which will depart on its inaugural rally a few weeks after the ARC, set to take up the slack, The organisers have announced that Las Palmas is increasing the number of its berths by 40.
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) 2012 route map
Cruiser start - 2012 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC)
World Cruising Club, who organise several other rallies as well as the ARC, announced this week that Port of Las Palmas have confirmed an additional 40 pontoon spaces will be available in Las Palmas marina for yachts joining ARC 2013.
The extra space means that over 1,200 sailors will be able to achieve their ocean sailing dreams with the ARC in 2013.
Since entries opened in September 2012, over 200 yachts have already committed to be on this year's start line, a testament to the continuing popularity of this 'bucket list' event for cruising sailors. The ARC sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, bound for Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia, over 2700 nautical miles away. The boats that take part every year are mainly family cruisers from more than 30 nations. Typically over 30 children aged under 16 sail with the ARC every year, and the oldest participant is regularly into their late 70s. All are welcome and the additional dock space available in Las Palmas means more sailors than ever before can join the rally.
Founded on the principle of ocean crossing in a safe and social environment, the popularity of the ARC continues as the event reaches its 28th edition. The first rally, held in 1986, saw 204 boats leave Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and it has remained in the record books ever since as the largest transocean sailing event. Today, crews of yachts sailing under the flags of 30 countries continue to uphold the ARCs global status, as they prepare for the 2013 voyage later this year.
From the outset, the ARC has developed its own special character. Over the past 27 years many friendships have been forged in the relaxed atmosphere and the profound sense of camaraderie has become the hallmark of this very special event that entices people back and welcomes new sailors each year. 'It was the first time to cross the Atlantic under the World Cruising roof, and this was a superb event, not only for myself, but for the whole HASPA HAMBURG crew.' said George Christiansen from Germany, 'We felt like being part of a large family with numerous happy (sailor) members living peacefully together and helping each other whenever necessary. What a wonderful world!'
Both new and familiar faces will arrive in Las Palmas throughout November 2013 and join the two week long schedule of activities prior to the start. Informative seminars, drinks parties and all kinds of activities for ARC sailors young and old will allow crews to socialise together before they depart. The tremendous welcome that they receive on arrival in Saint Lucia will be a worthy reward for everyone that completes the 2700nm voyage and the official Prize giving Ceremony will be held on 20th December.
As well as a two week long programme of parties, seminars and tutorials, ARC participants benefit from a huge range of discounts on essential items of cruising equipment; training courses and marina berths. For 2013 there are 17 marinas from Plymouth to Gibraltar, Madeira and the Canaries offering generous discounts to ARC sailors.
And the benefits of joining the ARC are also financial. Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club spoke about the support the ARC receives, 'It is great to have so many marinas onboard supporting the ARC. With all the generous discounts available, participants can recoup the cost of their ARC entry fee just in savings on marina visits before they even reach Gran Canaria.'
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