ARC rally start is delayed by one because of local strong winds

As the rain poured down and lightning lit up the evening sky it was clear that weather during the last week before the start of this year’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) had been far from the norm for this event. And while the weather maps showed a large high pressure mid Atlantic providing the Catherine wheel off which the north easterly trade winds blow, stronger and more unstable conditions were being dragged down into the Canary Islands region.

With this in mind and the more lively than normal conditions close to shore within the vicinity of the start, the event organisers decided to delay the start until Monday.

Here’s the official word:

Strong winds blowing through the harbour of Las Palmas have caused ARC organisers World Cruising Club to announce a delay to the start of ARC 2014.  Whilst the front that has brought 4 days of heavy rain squalls to Gran Canaria is passing through, locally strong winds make it unsafe to manoeuvre boats in the harbour.

It was announced this morning that the starts for all divisions would be delayed until tomorrow (Monday) morning. Further information about the start times will be announced at 15:00 today.

“The safety of the boats and crews is our number one priority” said Andrew Bishop, ARC Event Director after announcing the postponement this morning. “Even though the wind is forecast to drop, the local sea state and wind acceleration zone off the south of Gran Canaria, both mean it is prudent to wait until tomorrow before departing. The majority of ARC boats are family cruisers, who will have a much nicer start to their Atlantic crossing by delaying until Monday. Even the experienced crews on some of the race boats are pleased to be leaving tomorrow.” explained Andrew Bishop.

The delay is the third time in the 29 years of the ARC that the start has needed to be changed.

ARC Weatherman Chris Tibbs, described the local weather in more detail. “At present we have an unstable air stream over the island, which is creating intense squalls. However, the next 24 hours will see a reduction in wind strength and in the number and intensity of squalls.”

The outlook for the weather for tomorrow is for 15 to 20 knots from the north or northeast and for the swell to ease. Once clear of the Canary Islands, moderate tradewinds are expected for the first few days of the crossing.