Gusty winds from the northeast and a building swell made for a fresh start Sunday for the 2022 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Reefed sails were a common sight at the line as the fleet of 138 boats departed Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, heading 2,700 miles across the pond to St. Lucia. The fleet is expected to arrive in Rodney Bay in mid-December after an 18-20 day crossing.
More than 800 crew are taking part aboard a diverse fleet of monohulls and multihulls. The multihulls and open divisions took off Sunday morning just as the sun emerged through the clouds, led by Danish skipper Ulrik Bjerl Nielsen onboard the all-electric ITA Catamaran 14.99 Nanomole.
The racing fleet followed, with Harmony 52 Sao Jorge crossing the line first, followed by Beneteau First 53 Firstlady and Beneteau 40.7 Escapado. Sao Jorge and Escapado are race charters, carrying guest crews with a professional skipper and mate on board.
The Cruising Division departed Sunday afternoon, with Anthony Auger’s Oyster 665 Patience of London leading the 100+ fleet. The ARC sailors come from 35 different countries and range in age from 2 to 80 years old. Weather forecasts are calling for a classic trade wind sail. All ARC boats are fitted with satellite trackers and can be followed through the ARC website or the YB Tracking app.
Sunday’s departure of the ARC fleet makes for a combined total of 234 yachts crossing the Atlantic under the ARC banner this month. The ARC Plus fleet of 91 yachts departed Mindelo, Cabo Verde, for the second leg of the ARC Plus rally Friday, November 18, bound for Camper and Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina in Grenada. An additional 43 yachts will join the ARC January, setting sail in the new year, in a third Atlantic crossing rally organized by World Cruising Club.
World Cruising Club, based in Cowes, UK, organizes a portfolio of international sailing rallies for cruising yachts in Europe, the United States, and around the world. WCC’s ARC rally has taken place every year since 1986.