Ireland is well represented by an ambitious young cruising couple in a full house for this year's Atlantic Rally for Cruisers - Both route options are at capacity with waiting lists in place for the first time since the creation of ARC+ in 2013, allowing for a total of 300 boats to sail under the ARC banner this November. It's set to be the biggest migration ever to sail with the rally to the Caribbean shores of Saint Lucia!
Claire McCluskey & Nick Russell are a young couple from Ireland, who admit they “may have gotten a bit carried away”. Not long after they met in 2012, a conversation in the pub grew legs and evolved into a challenge: to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. This was a high provocation, considering at that time, one of them had never even been on a boat before. “But now, four years, 56 feet of boat and countless litres of blood, sweat and tears later, we are almost ready to go!”
Their boat Rogue Trader is a homebuilt, wooden‐hulled ketch. It took twenty years and three different owners to complete the build, until she was finally launched in Newry, Northern Ireland in 2008.
Claire and Nick became her custodians in 2013 and although structurally she was built beautifully, she needed a lot of cosmetic work, and they have worked tirelessly for the past three years cleaning, painting and refitting her ready for the ARC. “We hope to finally achieve what this boat was built for open water sailing and adventure.”
“We have each harboured a long enduring desire to take on a grand adventure, and we both feel incredibly grateful to find ourselves in the fortunate position to finally pursue such a dream. I often can’t quite believe that we have made it to this point and we have barely even started yet! We are tremendously excited at the prospect of getting to experience the sea and distant places in ways we have never known before while all the time building upon our confidence in our new lifestyle.”
31st Atlantic Rally for Cruisers prepares to set sail
ARC sailors have a choice of routes with the introduction of ARC+ Cape Verde, and two starts are planned for 2016: ARC+ will depart Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 6 November, with approximately 75 boats sailing to Mindelo, Sao Vincente, Cape Verde for a 3 to 5 day stopover before the restart to Saint Lucia on 16 November.
The larger ARC fleet of over 200 boats will start their own Atlantic adventure on Sunday 20 November sailing directly to Saint Lucia.