Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Thirtieth Anniversary ARC Ready For Atlantic Adventure & Captured in Water Colours

11th November 2015
3629 Views
Atlantic Rally Cruisers
The Atlantic Rally Cruisers fleet is assembling in Las Palmas. Illustrations By Pete Hogan

The 30th anniversary edition of the ARC sets out on Sunday, 22nd November. Irish sailor and artist Pete Hogan spent a few days in Las Palmas as the fleet was assembling before departure to Saint Lucia in the East Caribbean. Here he describes the fleet in words and watercolours.

The ARC, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is probably the oldest and best known rally of this type. Started in 1985 by Jimmy Cornell, that dynamo of offshore cruising promotion, it was an event which was forming naturally anyway. Many cruising boats were sailing across the Atlantic at that time of year and so an organisation of them was a natural progression.

Cornell sold the ARC concept a few years back, apparently, (and started a rival rally called Odyssey). The Arc is now run by an operation called World Cruising Club which runs cruising rallies all over the world.

40 Footers

forty footers

Las Palmas is very welcoming to the ARC fleet and the event has spawned a vibrant marine and social industry servicing the yachts. The town has a tourist office adjoining the ARC office. The boatyard was full, the marina was full, extensive chandlery operations plied their trade. The Sailors Bar and harbour side restaurants were buzzing. Agents, sailmakers, fix it men, delivery people, courtesy cars rushed purposefully here and there. Flags declaring participation in the ARC and nationality of crew were proudly flown. Impromptu parties and problem solving sessions, seminars and safety inspections, tee shirt sales and car hire were all doing a great trade. And there were still a few weeks to go before blast off.

Bow View

from the bow

Looking at the participants there is a fine mix of nations with three Irish boats listed this year. In addition I met Liam Kavanagh from Tipperary with his girlfriend on their Welsh 40 footer living the dream and there were several other Irish crew in evidence. There is a huge contingent from Scandinavia with the Swedish flag all over the place. Notable by their absence are the French with only 10 entries, a low number for this fanatical sailing nation.
There is a minimum size indicator from the organisers of 27 ft. but in reality the average size of entry is much longer, perhaps 45 ft. The smallest entry I could find this year was a redoubtable Contessa 32.

50 Footers

fifty footers

The size, quality and style of the typical ARC participant is indicative of the nature of the ARC nowadays. A typical entry is big, has a centre cockpit, full furling sails (usually electric), water maker and extensive battery of electronics, refrigeration and safety equipment. Electric auto pilots seem to have superseded the magic self-steering vanes, I was sad to note.

Scooner n Cat

Schooner and cat

Grand Bleu

Grand Bleu

Hard Men

Hard Men

HR 48

HR 48

There is a huge multihull division with in excess of 35 boats. And all of these would be 50 foot type cats, mainly Lagoon brand. I’m not a fan of these big boxy boats.

Of course you do not have to be in the ARC to sail across the Atlantic on the milk run. The anchorage at Las Palmas was full of the more normal mix of world cruising fleet. As the ARC website says; ‘Most people join a World Cruising Club rally for the security and peace of mind of an organised event; for the camaraderie and friendship of a large group of like-minded people; and for the fun of sailing in a fleet of boats. It’s as much fun for experienced sailors as for those new to ocean sailing.’

Bon Voyage to the participants in the ARC 2015.

Published in Cruising
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Webcams

webcam sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating