Boats from 25 Countries Will Start ARC2001

ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) 2001, organized by England’s World Cruising Club, promises to be bigger and better than ever as it moves into its 16th year with a full compliment of 225 yachts taking part and 25 nationalities entered, giving the event a truly international flavor.

ARC2001 starts from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands on Sunday, November 25 and finishes at Rodney Bay Marina, St.Lucia in the Windward Islands of the West Indies. The 2,700-mile passage will take most of the yachts between 18 and 21 days.

The rally still has a large British, German, Scandinavian, and American contingent, but this year the event has attracted entries from many other nations, including from Estonia (Hillar Kukk, an engineer from Tallin, sailing his Colin Archer 40 ketch Martha) and from Bratislava in Slovakia (Stefanik, a wood Gallian 72 ketch sailed by marine engineer Roman Klementis).

Since its inception in 1986, the ARC has become a popular way to sail across the Atlantic, because of its all-around appeal. There’s plenty of room for the serious racer, the gentle cruiser, the family, and, of course, the sailing gadabout, with events out of the water as crucial as they are on it. "The ARC seems to grow and grow in popularity every year, and this year we’re delighted to have furthered the appeal to so many different countries," commented Andrew Bishop, general manager of the World Cruising Club. "This demonstrates the increasing popularity of cruising across the globe and how important the ARC is for bringing these nationalities together. "Having organized the rally for 16 years, we’ve come to learn about what our participants want and have the experience to make the event challenging, worthwhile, and safe."

Once again, the ARC2001 fleet is a true reflection of modern cruising yachts. All the leading boatbuilders are represented in the fleet, which, in turn, reflects the aspirations and budgets of most offshore cruising sailors. This year the average boat length is 46 feet, 6 inches, and 50 percent of the fleet is between 36 and 46 feet LOA.

While the boats may be typical offshore cruising yachts, the owners are very diverse as the ARC continues to attract participants from a wide cross-section of backgrounds. Among those in ARC2001 are airline pilots, hovercraft pilots and air traffic controllers, farmers and restaurateurs, firemen and policemen, writers and students, doctors and lawyers, as well as a significant number of retired people. Many participants are using the ARC as a start to their long-term cruising plans. For others, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

ARC2001 is sponsored by the Tourist Board of Gran Canaria, the Port Authority of Las Palmas, the St. Lucia Tourist Board, and in association with Yachting World England’s magazine. Full details about the ARC, including the current entry list, can be found on the World Cruising Club website at: www.worldcruising.com.