Entries for this year's ARC full three months before start

Over the course of the last 20 years, thousands of cruising enthusiasts have enjoyed crossing the Atlantic with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) and this year this successful event has reached a milestone, moving into its third decade.

The 20th ARC will start from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 20 November. As popular as ever, the 225th entry slot was taken at the beginning of August and hopeful entries are now being placed onto a waiting list. Commenting on the continuing success of the ARC, director of World Cruising Club, Andrew Bishop, said: “Last year was incredible, with a full list much earlier than expected, however, entries for this year have been steadily coming in since the end of ARC2004 and we are delighted that the event is full over three months before the start.”

Asked about the 20th Edition celebrations planned for this year, Bishop said: “Both the start port of Las Palmas and finish port of St Lucia are very much behind this anniversary year. We are delighted that the Patronato de Turismo and Port Authority of Gran Canaria have signed a contract until 2010, securing the start of the event from the Canaries, and they have some very special events planned to mark this special anniversary year.”

For the first time, Beneteau has beaten rival manufacturers to be the predominant manufacturer, with a total of 26 Beneteaus entered, including eight Beneteau 40.7s. This is a huge increase in comparison to only 15 Beneteaus entered in ARC2004. Hallberg Rassy comes a close second with 21 yachts entered and Jeanneau are third with 19 yachts entered

Twenty-one nations are represented in the 2005 ARC fleet, making this not only the largest transocean event in the world, but also the most diverse. The fleet ranges from the Vancouver 32 Free Spirit of Itchenor from Great Britain, to the largest boat at 104ft, Kalikobass II from the Cayman Islands. To date there are 40 children taking part in the ARC, almost double that of last year. Taking advantage of this Atlantic entertainment for the children are Lesley and Trond Asdam, she being South African and he Norwegian. Having cruised worldwide years ago when working on yachts, the couple now want to show their children some of the wonderful places they experienced, with a two-year circumnavigation ahead of them aboard their yacht Coconut.

The ARC attracts many folk who are embarking on a new stage of their lives. Jim and Jane Horner from Ireland are taking early retirement also to circumnavigate the world in their home-built Suncat 40, Lady Jane III. Eivind Bogerud and his girlfriend Heidi Vage from Norway, have sold up their life ashore to set sail on their Bavaria 42 Empire for a five-year voyage to include two Atlantic crossings with the ARC, the Americas and a rounding of Cape Horn.

There are seven Spanish yachts entered in ARC2005, three of those hailing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Long term supporters of the ARC, leading chandlery Rolnautic have their own entry in the ARC this year, a Northwind ’59 called Oranda III, owned by Carlos Rodriquez Fernandez. The racing division with its 36 entries, also attracts an international flavour, in particular the all-Swedish crew aboard Sven Lindahl’s, Shipman 50, Sanibel. Of particular interest is the skipper of Sanibel, Sven’s son Oscar who is 14 years old (this year’s youngest Skipper). Sven races in the IMS series in Spain and will be taking Sanibel onto Key West Week and Antigua Race Week after the ARC.

One team that definitely will not be overlooked, and proving that you can start sailing anytime in your life, is the Turkish all-female crew aboard the Dufour ’40 Odienne. All working women between the ages of 29 and 55, some of the crew did not start sailing until they were 50. Sir Chay Blyth, Executive Chairman of Challenge Business, of which World Cruising Club is part, comments: “The ARC is a tremendous event. I am proud to be associated with it, and look forward to meeting many of the crews during the pre-start period in November.”