After a busy two week program in Las Palmas the ARC fleet is off this morning

So this is it. This morning the ARC 2003 fleet is off. After a busy two week program in Las Palmas that has included flare demonstrations, sextant navigation courses, local wine tasting trips, tours of the island, match racing, children’s parties, dinghy races, countless seminars and more parties than a yachtie is physically able to attend (but most tried), the raison d’etre of the ARC is reached: sailing.

The feeling on the dock is that crews are keen to get underway. Some are slightly anxious, some still too busy to be, but all are excited. It’s the culmination of many months, even years, of planning for some, and just a last minute whim for others, but tomorrow it all comes together as the fleet hoists it’s sails together for the first time.

A tired World Cruising Club team of 20 will breathe a sigh of relief as the last transoms disappear over the horizon before packing it all up and heading home to Cowes for a few days of relative inactivity, but there are still the daily positions reports to receive, a website to update, forms to process… And then it’s off to St Lucia to start all over again.

The first boats should arrive in St Lucia around the 4 December.