The new route has brought together an eclectic fleet of yachts and eager crews excited to embark on a 2,700nm tradewind sail to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.
From the smallest yacht Freeway of Penpol, a Freedom 35 returning to an ARC start line 30 years after its Atlantic crossing with ARC 1992, to the largest yacht Oyster 745 Kalia, one of the newest boats in the fleet launched in 2021, the skyline off the port of Las Palmas was peppered with white sails of boats of all shapes and sizes.
From onboard the Committee Vessel, the first countdown began for the Multihull Division as a steady wind of 15-18 knots blew from South South-East. Leading the fleet of 10 catamarans, Outremer 55 Belle Ile powered through the startline under the watchful eye of skipper Thomas Lurton and the all-French crew.
The British flagged Catana 53 PolePole were second over the line follow by Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Yakira.
Many of the skippers opted to start with reduced sails – a sensible precaution with many miles of ocean sailing ahead.
First over the line was Trumpeter, a Contest 44CS owned by recently retired couple Chris and Mandy Carlisle; their ARC represents 15 years of dreaming and 6 months of planning, having moved aboard in June 2021.
Kalia, the Swiss-Flagged Oyster 745, was second over the line, followed by Bounty, NEIT and I Neverland.
Now the yachts are at sea, crews will adapt to ocean life and quite a change of pace from the pre-departure rush.
The classic route of ‘sailing south until the butter melts’ is looking best for the fleet before pointing their bows to the Caribbean, avoiding an uncertain low pressure system developing along the rhumb line.
Their progress can followed on the YB Tracking App and Fleet Viewer page of the World Cruising Club website.