ARC - De Atlantische Oceaan oversteken - de droom van veel zeilers
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ARC – Cross the Atlantic - the dream of many sailors

The ARC is an opportunity for participants to cross the Atlantic safely as part of a group. Nearly 300 boats from over 20 nations set off every year in November from Gran Canaria to sail the 2800 nautical miles to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean.
SVB is an official partner of the ARC. In addition to all the important information about the rally, if you are taking part you can also get all the equipment needed from us.

Here you will find the perfect equipment for your rally »Click here to go to the official ARC website »

What is the ARC?

ARC stands for Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. This rally for cruising and regatta sailors has been held annually since 1986 and is organised by the World Cruising Club in England. The route covers 2800 nautical miles across the Atlantic, from Gran Canaria to St. Lucia. However, the ARC is not only about seeing who can get to St. Lucia first, the event also has with it a strong social focus, where celebrating arrival is just as important as making new contacts. At its heart, the rally is about crossing the Atlantic safely in a group, while still allowing each participant his or her own experience and adventure.

Who can take part in the ARC?

Every year, around 1,400 people of all ages take part in the ARC. From experienced regatta sailors to cruising couples and families with children, all kinds of people are welcome. Each year, around 30-40 children participate. Pets can also be brought on the boat, but they must comply with the regulations of their home country and any country visited during the rally.

ARC participation

Terms and conditions for participation in the ARC

To participate in a World Cruising Club rally, you will need a seaworthy boat, with which you must have already made an offshore trip the year before the rally. The type of boat is not stipulated. From small sailing boats to large superyachts, everything is allowed and permitted. Most competing boats are standard models from well-known boat manufacturers. Monohulls must be at least 8.23 m and no more than 29.91 m in length (LOA), Multihulls no shorter than 8.23 m and no longer than 18.29 m. Larger boats up to 32.10 m can participate by invitation. There must be at least 2 people on board for the rally. For other equipment, such as refrigerators & electronics, there are no specifications. You can decide whether to race with the latest technology or go traditional, with as few electronics as possible.

It is recommended for the skipper (captain) and at least one crew member to have attended training in safety and communication equipment, bad weather sailing and crisis management within the last 5 years. It is also recommended to have tested your boat and equipment thoroughly before participating and to be familiar with it as much as possible. It is much easier to repair defective equipment in your home port than at sea or in a foreign country. The World Cruising Club offers some seminars and workshops to prepare for the ARC. Useful videos for preparation are also available on the World Cruising Club YouTube Channel.

When does the ARC take place?

The ARC kicks off every year at the end of November in Gran Canaria. The usual crossing time to St. Lucia for a 12m (40') cruising boat is between 18 and 21 days, depending on weather conditions and sailing style. The fastest crossing was made in 2016 with a time of 8 days, 6 hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds. The destination port in the Caribbean should be reached in early December. In the two weeks before and after the crossing, there will be an extensive accompanying programme in Gran Canaria and St. Lucia respectively.

What is the route of the ARC?

Around 300 boats leave from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria at the end of November for their adventure on the Atlantic Ocean. They go directly to Saint Lucia, and are welcomed in Rodney Bay. The ARC+ rally starts 2 weeks earlier, but arrives before the ARC fleet in the Caribbean. More than 70 100 yachts participate in the ARC+ and start in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria at the beginning of November. Their first destination is Mindelo, Sao Vicente on the Cape Verde Islands. The crossing takes 5-7 days. A 3-5 day break is planned here, during which the island can be explored. The journey then continues towards the Caribbean. Crossing takes between 12 and 16 days. Participating in the ARC+ has the advantage of including a stopover on the way and the second, and the part of the crossing, thanks to the southern route, can be enjoyed with mostly ideal wind conditions


Preparing for the ARC

If you decide to take part in the ARC, you will receive a booklet containing valuable advice and information based on experience gained since the first rally in 1986. It contains step-by-step instructions for preparing your boat and crew. It also includes information on organisational matters, such as any visas that are required. In general, an understanding of how your boat works and a good supply of tools and spare parts helps to increase independence. If you are not an experienced craftsman, you should go on a course or have a close look at how your boat is fixed and maintained, asking as many questions as possible. There are also many useful books with good advice available.

Race the ARC or go at your own pace

If you participate in the ARC, you can choose between having your crossing time recorded, thus making it a race, or simply enjoying the trip at your own speed without a score. If you want to have your time recorded, a handicap will be assigned based on your boat data. This is a time correction factor that allows you to compare the crossing times of yachts of different types and sizes. You are still allowed to use the engine for propulsion and or to charge the batteries. At the end the times are compared, adjusted according to the handicap and the hours under engine that were used for forward propulsion are added.

ARC Racing Division

The ARC has an extra regatta division that is separate from the rest of the rally. Boats that sail in the racing division are usually regatta boats with experienced crews. Racing Division places are limited to 40 boats. It is therefore recommended that you register for this event by May at the latest. Racing Division boats must have a current IRC handicap certificate and may not use their engine during the entire crossing.

After the ARC back to Europe

After the rally has ended, there are various options on how to get back to Europe. The ARC Europe leaves the Caribbean or East Coast of the USA every year at the beginning of May and makes stopovers in Bermuda and the Azores before going onwards over the Atlantic Ocean to Portugal. Or you can sail even further around the world with the World ARC from Saint Lucia. If you don't want to sail back to Europe yourself, you can also have your yacht transported back to Europe on a freighter specially equipped for yacht transport or charter a crew to return your boat.

Events before and after the ARC

For the two weeks prior to departure, Gran Canaria offers an extensive programme with seminars, workshops and parties, as well as special offers for children. This time will be used not only for final preparations but mainly to get to know the other participants. Even as an experienced sailor you might feel a bit uneasy about embarking on a long trip across the Atlantic. Being able to talk to other participants and share concerns and knowledge helps to feel more relaxed before starting the crossing. This is also a good time to make new friends that you can keep in touch with via radio at sea. Upon arrival in Saint Lucia, each boat is assisted in docking and the crew is welcomed with rum punch, fresh fruit and chilled beer - no matter when they arrive, day or night. Successful crossing is celebrated in the days after arrival with a welcome party, live music and of course the award ceremony. There is a lot to see and do in Saint Lucia, and many of the participants spend Christmas on the island. Others take the opportunity to sail further through the Caribbean in small groups after their arrival. The ARC offers seminars on sailing in the Caribbean in Saint Lucia.

ARC Racing Division

The World Cruising Club and all the different rallies

The World Cruising Club is the world's leading specialist for sailing rallies. In total, the club organises 8 rallies every year in addition to the ARC and ARC+

  1. World ARC – Round the World Adventure: Sail around the world from Saint Lucia or Australia
  2. Caribbean 1500 – From the USA to the Caribbean or the Bahamas: From Chesapeake in the USA to Nanny Cay or Tortola BVI in the British Virgin Islands or to Abaco in the Bahamas
  3. ARC Europe - Transatlantic crossing from west to east: Cross the Atlantic from the Caribbean or the USA to Portugal via Bermuda and the Azores
  4. ARC USA - From the Caribbean to the USA: From Nanny Cay or Tortola in the British Virgin Islands to Bermuda, then to the east coast of the USA
  5. ARC Portugal - From Biscay via Bayona to Portugal: From the southern Bay of Biscay via the Spanish province of Bayona to southern Portugal to Marina de Lagos
  6. ARC Channel Islands - Sail to France: From Great Britain via the Channel Islands to Northern France
  7. ARC DelMarVa - Summer cruise around the DelMarVa peninsula: From Annapolis in the Chesapeake Bay and around the DelMarVa Peninsula back to Annapolis
  8. ARC Baltic - round trip through the Baltic Sea: Sail through the Baltic Sea for six weeks and visit 6 capitals

All boats participating in the ARC can be followed via the Fleet Viewer on the World Cruising Club website. See who is leading the races, as well as the position, course and speed of each boat.

Fleet Viewer