A breezy start from Nanny Cay © WCC / Alastair
Ocean adventures: ARC
Europe and ARC USA set sail
bumper fleet of 51 boats from 20 nations set sail from Nanny Cay on their
ocean adventures with World Cruising Club's Spring rallies - ARC Europe
and ARC USA.
route options prove popular with multiple fleets cruising in company.
the Atlantic west to east, ARC Europe began from Nanny Cay,
Tortola (29 boats).
ARC Europe fleet leaving from Portsmouth, Virginia USA (6 boats) is
delayed due to sub-tropical storm "Ana". It is anticipated the
fleet will set sail on Wednesday 13 May.
fleets will combine in Bermuda and be joined by a further seven boats,
before sailing to the Azores and onto Marina de Lagos, Portugal, or other
USA set sail from Nanny Cay, Tortola alongside the ARC Europe fleet. 6
boats will sail via the Old Bahama Channel to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA,
whilst 16 boats will sail with the ARC Europe fleet to Bermuda then to the
US east coast or onto Portsmouth, Virginia, including a fleet of five Swan
boats that are going on to ports in New England.
familiar faces from previous World Cruising Club rallies have returned to
cruise home together with ARC Europe and ARC USA; new participants have
been warmly welcomed during the social programmes and happy hours in the
inspections, flare and liferaft demonstrations, and skippers' briefings in
the week leading up to departure have prepared crews for the ocean passage
and friends can follow the adventure through logs and live tracking on the
World Cruising Club website.
Yachts sailing under the flags of 20 different nations and crews
from many more, set sail from Nanny Cay, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands
on Saturday 9 May for their offshore adventures as part of two World Cruising
Club Spring rallies; ARC Europe and ARC USA. Venturing west to east across the
Atlantic, over forty boats will sail with ARC Europe this year; 29 leaving from
Nanny Cay, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and 6 in the delayed start
from Portsmouth, Virginia, USA. Both groups will converge in Bermuda and be
joined by a further 6 boats to continue their ocean adventure to Europe and
enjoy a cruise through the mid-Atlantic Azores archipelago en route.
the rally has grown, ARC Europe still maintains its intricate charm,"
says ARC Europe Event Manager, Lyall Burgess. "We are excited about Nanny Cay's plans for expanding
the marina and thank them for their continued support."
Many yachts are sailing with ARC Europe and ARC USA as their final homeward
bound passages, returning after a winter of Caribbean cruising. The rally is
somewhat a reunion for 12 boats that have sailed with the ARC and ARC+ in
previous years, and new faces have been warmly welcomed with a social program
in Nanny Cay. At the Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth VA, host
port for the US start, participants also got together to enjoy a happy hours,
parties and safety demonstrations during their pre-start build up.
Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager of host marina whilst the fleet have
been in Tortola, Nanny Cay, BVI. "I'm
thrilled to see the numbers up. It's been a growing event for us. Unfortunately
it marks the end of our season at Nanny Cay, which is sad, but we love working
with World Cruising Club and think it is a great organisation. Just seeing the
activity and camaraderie around the docks at Nanny Cay is brilliant and we wish
all the participants a safe journey on to Bermuda and hopefully they will tell
their friends in Europe about us and come back and visit us one day."
Like all World Cruising Club rallies, a key part of the pre-departure programme
for both ARC Europe and ARC USA is preparation and ensuring the right equipment
is on board each yacht for a safe and enjoyable voyage.
Rally veterans, Harald & Christel Ertl are sailing their Hallberg Rassy 40, Sophie (GER)
double-handed back to Germany with ARC Europe. Although this is their fourth
rally (ARC 2008, Caribbean 1500 in 2010 and World ARC 2012), they emphasise the
benefit of the safety equipment checks before the start of every rally: "In a WCC rally, the safety check
team come to your boat and offer advice on why you need certain equipment, and
they explain the reason for it. Even though we've taken part in many WCC
rallies before, we sometimes forget things, so it a good thing to do."
Six boats are sailing with ARC USA rally from Nanny Cay to Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, via the Old Bahama Channel, and have been sharing the fun of the
pre-departure programme in Tortola with crews from ARC Europe. The route will
see them sailing close to the north shores of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba,
sheltered from the Atlantic swells by the Turks & Caicos and Bahamas, and
should take approximately 7 days for them to arrive in Bahia Mar Marina in the
It was a breezy start for the fleets in Nanny Cay, with 16-19 knots of wind
under overcast skies. As the start horn sounded at 12 noon, first to cross the
line were Bavaria 40 Rhea (SVN), with a sneaky move around the buoy marker, followed closely by Dufour 45 Doppelbock (GER) in second and Hallberg Rassy 53 Mahe'
3 (ITA) in third.
Following the monohull start, the multihulls were set off at 1210 local time. Mantra 2 (SWE) an
Outremer 42 crossed the start ling first, followed by GEM (USA) and Intrepid Elk (GBR).
Sub-tropical storm "Ana" delays ARC
Europe Portsmouth, VA start
The ARC Europe yachts setting off from Portsmouth, Virginia were
due to leave the same day as those starting from Tortola (Saturday 9 May), but
the decision was made to delay the departure of the ARC Europe Portsmouth fleet
until at least Tuesday 12th May due to sub-tropical storm "Ana".
Rally weather forecasters WRI are monitoring the deepening low off the coast of
the US state of Georgia, and now the expected track north towards Cape Hatteras
means it was prudent to delay departing from the Chesapeake Bay towards
Bermuda. It is expected that the fleet will leave on Wednesday 13th May with a
cold front bringing NW wind and perfect conditions for the sail to Bermuda.
Whilst skippers and crews of the six boat fleet gathered at the Ocean Marine
Yacht Center in Portsmouth VA, were disappointed at the delay, the decision had
been expected and was met by approval from all those involved.
Well to the south, the yachts setting out from Nanny Cay, Tortola in the
British Virgin Islands towards Bermuda and towards Florida were not affected by
this system and the fleet is expected to enjoy good sailing conditions.
ARC Europe fleets are expected to arrive in St. Georges, Bermuda
in 5-7 days time and will be sure to enjoy a few customary dark n' stormy
drinks on arrival. On 20th May they re-start for Leg 2 sailing approximately
1800nm to the famous mid-Atlantic rendezvous point of Horta in the Azores.
Rather than sprinting across the Atlantic, the rally visits four of the islands
over a 12 day period, with the option of visiting a fifth. After almost two
weeks cruising the Azores archipelago, boats either sail on with the fleet to
Marina de Lagos in Portugal, or make their own way north towards the UK and
Ireland. ARC Europe will come to a close with a final prize giving ceremony in
Lagos on 21 June 2015.