The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) 2001 is underway

After a week of preparation, celebration and acclimatisation, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) 2001 is underway. Of the 225 boats entered from a record 26 countries, 220 crossed the downwind startline off Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to begin the 2,700-mile passage to Rodney Bay, St Lucia.

Smallest among the starters was Nicholas Struthers’ Nicholson 32 Melody Fair and at the other end of the size spectrum, the 100ft custom superyacht Miss Charlotte eased gracefully across the line.

Another notable entry is that of Yachting World Editor Andrew Bray’s 42ft Humphreys-designed Firefly. Technology permitting, Andrew and his two crew – Duncan Kent and Stewart Whiting – will be sending in reports from the race course throughout the 17-21 day crossing.

The downwind start was lent an extra splash of colour by the spinnakers of the racing division, billowing in the 15-knot northeasterly that is expected to stay with them for the first two or three days.