Adrian Bara and crew arrived in Las Palmas last week and are busy making final preparations

The ARC, we are finally here. After a whole year preparing the boat, going through courses and seminars, buying endless lists of gear; installing new electronics and safety equipment, we are finally in Las Palmas.

We’ve been here for a week now, me and Leonor, my girlfriend who is also Bacan’s First Mate. I’m Adrian Bara (pictured) and our boat is Bacan, a 1991 Gib Sea 422. The boat used to belong to a French charter company and we’ve owned her for five years now. During those five years, lots of upgrades were done, but it was during this last year that most of the work was carried out. For the crossing, we are going with Adrian and Maria Rosa, good friends who are also excellent sailors – they both work in the yachting industry, Adrian skippering a 65ft classical yacht in Italy, Maria Rosa working with him on board. They’ve crossed the Atlantic before, for a delivery from Cuba to Palma de Mallorca, but this will be the first time they cross from Europe to the Caribbean. They are both arriving tonight, ready to help with the final preparations.

It would be hard to go through the extensive list of tasks we had to accomplish to get the boat ready and even more extensive if we consider the complex logistics we had to manage to get the stuff on site from different places – US, UK, Spain, Argentina … always looking for a bargain!. I’m a professional Project Manager, and Leonor always laughed at me having a Project Work plan and a budget for the ARC. During this year, we installed a water maker, solar panels and a wind turbine, a Raymarine C70 multifunction screen integrating all on board instruments, a new GPS, a radar, a SSB radio with Pactor Modem for emails, an on board computer with a flat screen and a new auto pilot. We also replaced most of the sails. We did all this and many other things ourselves, and we did it all while the boat was moored in Barcelona and we were living in UK (I don’t want to think about the air miles we put in this year!).

In August Leonor and me sailed the boat from Barcelona to Las Palmas, and left it here for a couple of months. We flew back to Las Palmas on November 7th and were here ready for the opening of the ARC office. We’ve been enjoying all the seminars and events organized by World Cruising. It is amazing here, being surrounded by so many boats from all over the world, ready to do the ARC. When you walk the marina or have a beer at the Sailors Bar you can hear people speaking in half a dozen languages!

We’ve just bought all our non-perishable food (3 supermarket trolleys!) and almost panicked thinking we were not going to be able to store all on board, but we finally managed. We still have a few tasks ahead: Buy all fresh food, replace the SSB antenna which is not working very well, clean the hull and check all sails and rigging so we expect to be quite busy before Sunday.

We are quite excited about the crossing and the next few months that we will spend cruising the Caribbean. From a sailing perspective, crossing an ocean is a big challenge and a great achievement; so we are looking forward to it. From a lifestyle perspective, we think life is too short and needs to be lived in full. We want to do something different than going to work from 9 to 5. They say that doing the ARC changes your life forever and I think that is our greatest expectation; that our lives are changed and improved by this wonderful experience.