Cruisers in Las Palmas make last minute preparations for this year’s ARC Plus sail to Grenada.
ARC rally flags are flying as participants get set to depart the Canary Islands this weekend.
Seventy-five sailboats in the Canary Islands are ready for this Sunday’s November 7 start of the 2021 World Cruising Club ARC Plus, the offshoot of the bigger, well-known ARC classic. The fleet has their waypoints set for the island of São Vicente, Cape Verde, 850 miles southwest. The Canary Islands to Cape Verde leg is expected to take five to seven days. Sailors will have a few days to explore, restock and refuel in Las Palmas before setting off again November 19 for the Caribbean. With the northeasterly tradewinds off the stern, the 2,150-mile, open ocean crossing to St George’s, Grenada, should take 12 to 16 days. The fleet is expected in Grenada around the first of December.
The World Cruising Club Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is an annual November rally from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. The first race, originally the Atlantic Race for Cruisers, was organized in 1986. Founder Jimmy Cornell imagined an amateur event for boats headed west and believed a rally would add some zest to the long crossing across the Atlantic while strengthening bonds between cruising sailors. With a large number of yachts sailing together as a fleet, the World Cruising Club ARC also hopes to increase the safety and confidence of the participants.
The ARC Plus and ARC Routes take two different fleets on separate routes across the Atlantic. The two-leg route and landfall in Grenada allows the ARC Plus fleet to split the long sails and take their time in the Caribbean once they arrive.
Zara Tremlett CMM, Marina Manager at Port Louis Marina comments;
“The team at Port Louis Marina and I are so excited to be welcoming this year’s ARC Plus participants. We have worked so hard with many partners to ensure the arrival in Grenada is as streamlined as possible, and that everyone experiences the outstanding Grenadine charm!”
“There will be a fantastic atmosphere at the marina when the boats arrive. Arriving yachts will have to quarantine on our superyacht docks, and then upon a negative result for Covid be moved to their berth in the marina. We wish all the participants safe sailing from the Canary Islands to Cape Verde to Grenada. A warm welcome is assured!”
ARC participants sailing the direct route from the Canaries to St. Lucia are scheduled to depart November 21, two weeks after the ARC Plus fleet. Close to 150 yachts are signed up for the 3000-mile direct route. The ARC Plus route was added in 2013, due to the event’s growing popularity. The ARC Plus is broken into two legs—Canary Islands to Cape Verde, and Cape Verde to Grenada— for those cruisers looking for a more relaxed pace and the route has become popular with young families. This year there are 44 children among participants from 22 nations, with the youngest sailor checking in at only 19 months old.
The ARC Plus course from Cape Verde heads to the Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in St. George’s, Grenada, a new destination for the ARC Plus. In previous years, the ARC Plus fleet arrived in St. Lucia a month ahead of the direct route ARC rally. Moving the ARC Plus fleet to Grenada eliminates the pressure on the ARC Plus participants to move on and make space for the direct ARC arrivals in January.
“After the difficulties of last year, we are delighted to have 75 yachts for the ARC Plus 2021,” said Andrew Bishop, the managing director of the World Cruising Club. “While (there are) fewer boats than previous years, it is a good (fleet) for this inaugural rally to make landfall in Grenada.”
Grenada offers great facilities for cruising yachts, Bishop said, and a warm welcome awaits the participants on the island and at the Port Louis Marina. The diverse fleet has a high proportion of multihulls, and more family entries than usual.
To book a berth at Port Louis Marina, click here.