|To help minimize the risk of crossing the Atlantic
and to participate in a fun event we signed up for the
Atlantic Rally for
Every November since 1986 the ARC has left
Las Palmas de la Gran
Canaria for the Caribbean. For the first four years the Caribbean
destination was on the island of Barbados, but since 1990 the
destination has been Rodney Bay, on the island of St.
Lucia. When we crossed some 240 boats participated.
The ARC is officially a race, promoting
"friendly competition" among a large variety of ocean
going boats (including power boats). There are a variety of divisions
some of which are more race oriented than others. Boats in the
most competitive division must have a valid "Channel Handicap
System" certificate so they can be properly handicapped against
other boats in their division.
Sister was in a division which is handicapped by the
World Cruising Association, the organizers of the ARC. This division is
much more "laid back" than the primo racing division.
Boats in this division may use their engines as they see fit as
long as engine use is logged and reported to the race committee via high
frequency radio daily.
The primary benefit in joining the ARC is
the opportunity to cross the Atlantic in the company of a large group of boats.
Although after even just one day at sea it is rare to even see another ARC participant, one is almost always in close enough
proximity to provide or receive emergency assistance. We encountered only
one other ARC participant in the middle of the Atlantic although we talked
to a few via VHF radio (which only has a range of about 25 miles).
There is also official daily radio communication so each boat
can report her position and condition to the organizers
and, by default, to all the other participants. Further social radio
networks develop during the event. Participants use these networks
to socialize with the fleet. Many lasting friendships between
cruisers have started over such networks.
Since the initial ARC in 1986, more Hallberg-Rassy
have completed the event than those from any other yard. A testimonial
to the popularity of Hallberg-Rassy boats as cruising boats.
|The transatlantic leg is approximately 2700
nautical miles long and took us 22 days to complete. Because it was
as slow crossing in general there were several boats which ran low on or
ran out of food, water or fuel. We could have gone another two
weeks. Perhaps we over-provisioned just a bit.