A week after opening the entry list for the ARC rally in 2013 there are almost 90 entries

An announcement come springtime that the entry list for the ARC transatlantic rally is full has become an annual occurrence. Generally, the 225 available places are gobbled up ten months in advance.

But last week organisers World Cruising Club revealed that only five days after opening up entries to the ARC in November 2013 this is over 30 per cent full.

The 2013 list was opened on 14 September and within 50 minutes the company had ten bookings. Just as well they don’t take bookings earlier or people would have to have their names down at birth to join.

As of this week, the total signed up for next year is 88, including 20-odd skippers who have transferred over from the brimming waiting list for this November.

As I’ve mentioned before, World Cruising Club’s events seem to be immune from the effects of recession, and I think there are several good reasons why. Their rallies are justly famous for being well-organised; they focus on many sailors’ long-cherished ambitions; and for people taking part the time to achieve these dreams is in shorter supply than the money.

The last is an important point and is probably why there is no falling off of numbers year-on-year despite economic variations. The window of time in life when enough leisure to go sailing for a year or two overlaps with the money to do it is short. Most people then have a few years before it closes again as parents become elderly and dependent or grandchildren arrive (domestic roaming agreements usually expire immediately at this point).

It’s therefore unsurprising that the company’s circumnavigation rally, the World ARC, is full too: 35 boats have entered the next one in 2014 and demand is such that the rally becomes annual from then on.

These are serious adventures, in no way diminished by the numbers undertaking them alone or in an event, and it’s really cheering to think that even in uncertain times friends and families are setting forth to sea together.