Over 160 boats set off for the Caribbean in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

Over 160 yachts set off at yesterday from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, on the 2,700-mile ARC rally. The 13th running of the event to St Lucia saw one of the biggest fleets in recent times and a broad spectrum of yachts, ranging from a 27m Baltic to a mini-Transat yacht.

As usual, the majority of the fleet is from the UK, which fielded 50 entries. The next largest nationality represented is Germany, with 38 yachts, and most other European nations make up the balance.

The fleet crossed the line into light south-westerlies. A report from Dr Kiko Rutter from the UK, sailing his Hallberg-Rassy 42 Hygeia of Halsa, comments that the start was ‘seriously uneventful’, with no dramas.

Beyond the shadow of Gran Canaria itself on the first night he reports: ‘The wind is now 16 knots, the crew well-fed and content and the sea gurgling under our bow as we slice 220 degrees. The biggest lie in the fleet so far is that one boat has already caught at 3ft mahi-mahi. If you believe that, you’ll believe anything!’