WORLD CRUISING CLUB IS ALL SET FOR A RECORD ARC
27 September 2007World's largest transocean sailing event is set to break entry record
The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is on course for a record entry, with 240 yachts confirmed to take part in this year's transocean cruising rally from Gran Canaria to St.Lucia in November, topping the previous maximum of 234 entrants in ARC 1999. With more yachts currently on the waiting list, the final entry figure may be higher still.
Host marinas make big improvements
World Cruising Club, the organisers of the ARC, is currently gearing up for the departure of the ARC 2007 fleet from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 25 November. A continual programme of improvements made by the Las Palmas Port Authority (Autoridad Portuaria de Las Palmas) to their marina in the heart of the city of Las Palmas has meant that more yachts than ever before can now be accommodated. Furthermore, all yachts will have a pontoon marina berth, essential whilst crews make their transatlantic preparations.
Plans have also been announced by IGY Marinas, the new owners of Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia, the finish destination for the ARC, to expand and improve berths, including adding more and larger docks, and increasing the navigable depth in the marina. Work is scheduled to start in early February and be complete in time for ARC 2008.
International profile is going strong
Now in its 22[sup]nd[/sup] year, the ARC has always had an international audience, and 2007 is no exception, with 24 different nations represented within the fleet, and many more nationalities are represented across the crews, making the ARC not only the World's largest transocean sailing event, but also its most diverse.
Entries this year span from the Ed Dubois-designed Mariposa at 29m (95ft), down to the small but tough 7.60m (26ft) Folkboat - Ariel sailed by the youngest skipper in ARC 2007, 22-year old Henry Adams from Sherborne, Dorset, UK. Most yachts (53% of the fleet) lie in the 40ft to 50ft band (12m - 15.24m), with a median size of 47ft 2" (14.40m).
French yards still dominate the constructors table!
Dominating the entry list with 43 yachts are French builders Beneteau, well ahead of the next most popular make, Jeanneau with 20 yachts and Oyster with 15 yachts participating. Cruising catamarans continue to grow in popularity in the ARC fleet, with 21 taking part; the French yards Lagoon and Fountaine Pajot being most widely represented with 10 and 5 yachts entered respectively.
Conceived and often described as 'a friendly race' for cruising yachts to make the Atlantic crossing both safer and more enjoyable, those participating must carry a range of safety equipment including a liferaft, EPIRB and long range communications. Daily radio nets contribute further to the safety of participants.
The ARC distinguishes itself by successfully combining racing and cruising yachts and a varied entry list comprising older and younger participants numbering around 1,100, all of whom thoroughly enjoy the fabulous range of entertainment that is on offer for all ages at both the start and finish ports.
Racing excitement in the offing this year
Whilst the majority of ARC yachts are there to enjoy the cruising fun, some skippers choose to race across the Atlantic, under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club in one of the ARC's two IRC Racing Divisions. This year 28 yachts will be racing, including, seven yachts over 60ft (18.28m). The Australian maxi Loki (Stephen Ainsworth) will be hoping to beat the ARC course record set last year of 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds, but will face some serious competition from two Volvo 60's - AAG Big One and Pindar, both with Russian crews racing as a warm up for their Volvo Ocean Race campaigns.
: Most sections