Castries, Saint Lucia: The 38th (ARC) Atlantic Rally for cruisers, white sail departed Gran Canaria for Saint Lucia, 2700 nautical miles away on Sunday. The weather was very nice and inviting when the 156 yachts started its journey to Saint Lucia.
Directing the ARC 2023 fleets were Pierre de Saint- Vincent’s Piment Rouge (FRA) and Outremer 51 in the Multihull Division, which is followed by Marjolijn van Oordt’s Swan 52-3 Gaia (NLD) in the Racing Division.
Notably, the 91-strong Cruising Division was led by Svante Jacobsson on Farr 65r Celeste of Solent (GBR).
All three starters were happy and relaxed in keeping with the ARC spirit; however, there was a little light-air jostle between the more competitive boats.
ARC 2023 Fleet
The largest-ever fleet of multihulls and re-energised Racing Division has uplifted the rally numbers to pre-COVID levels.
As Vincent Henry, the crew on Outremer 51, Piment Rouge, added, it is more pleasurable to cross the Atlantic this way with the ARC. “It is a beautiful thing to cross the Atlantic this way with the ARC. It is more pleasurable”, he added.
Notably, 43 multihulls took the start gun, including one trimaran and Neel 43 MiaMaGir (FRA).
The heart of central of the ARC is the Cruising Division of monohulls, which ranges from David Ceccarelli’s 10.1m Grand Soleil 34 Lady Elenora (ITA) to the 32m Ireland (MLT) from the Alloy Yachts.
It is to be noted that this year, 900 ARC sailors hail from 39 countries and range in age from one year to almost 90, including families, old friends, ocean hitchhikers and charter crews.
ARC 2023 Starts
There is a tactical and trimming challenge for the racier teams as the Winds from the northeast and a couple of meters of swell are usual for this time of year in Las Palmas, but 2023 delivered a white sail start in 8-10 knots and calm seas.
Notably, it is a gentle reintroduction to life at sea for everyone.
It first started at 12:30 at the Multihull and Open Divisions with Rouge. The next off was the 13-strong IRC Racing Division with Marjolijn van Oordt’s Swan 52-3. Gaia took the line first, followed by Solano (POR).
Destination Saint Lucia
After the Canary Islands fall astern, the next sight of land would be the green mountains of Saint Lucia. All the participants of all ages are guaranteed a warm Lucian welcome from the team in IGY Rodney Bay Marine.
Pigeon Island National Park forms a dramatic environment for the finish line.
Thomas Leonce- Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Director, while explaining the sightseeing, asked the travellers to visit the Piton mountains, amazing beaches, sulphur springs and great parties.
“Beautiful Saint Lucia has something for everyone: sulphur springs, the Piton mountains, our amazing beaches, and, of course, great parties”, he stated.
Rally Yachts at Sea
Notably, there are now 253 boats and 1,300 people aged from 8 months to 89 years presently crossing the Atlantic with ARC rallies as the ARC+ fleet departed Cape Verde on November 17, bound for Grenada.