Never let it be said that the World Cruising Club (WCC) rests on its laurels. Always looking for fresh ways to add more spice to the world’s longest-running and most popular cruising rally—the first was held in 1986, and entries regularly exceed 200—the WCC this year added a third route option to the ARC mix.
The original, and still the most popular, route is directly from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to Rodney Bay in St. Lucia, a 2,700-mile tradewind voyage. Several years ago, the WCC added a second option, the ARC+.
Starting two weeks earlier than the ARC proper, the ARC+ fleet stops over for a few days at Mindelo on the Cape Verde island of Sao Vincente, then re-starts to finish in St. Lucia. Affording entrants the opportunity to make crew swaps, reprovision or pick up spare parts or simply break up the monotony of a long ocean passage, the ARC+ proved so popular that it soon began to overtax the organizers and the shoreside facilities. That’s why the WCC decided to add yet another option.
The latest addition, the ARC+ St. Vincent, also stops at Mindelo but finishes at the Blue Lagoon in St. Vincent. It starts from Las Palmas four days after the ARC+ fleet, the plan being for the boats to arrive in Mindelo just as the ARC+ boats are departing for St. Lucia.
Some 20 boats have chosen to enter this event, while a further 76 crews will take part in the ARC+ with its St. Lucia finish. The remainder of the 275-strong fleet will take part in the ARC proper.
One thing the ARC has seen in recent years is a steady increase in the number of multihulls taking part in the rallies. Over one-fifth of the entries, this year were catamarans, with Lagoon still the dominant manufacturer.
Entries for the 2019 ARC events are now open. For more information, go to worldcruising.com.
MHS Winter 2018