Entries are now being accepted for the 28th edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), the world's most popular sailing rally organised by Cowes-based World Cruising Club.
Such is the popularity of the ARC that the 2012 rally was booked-up by late February, and cruisers are already keen to secure their place in ARC 2013, 14 months before the start.
Cruisers who want to cross oceans are still 'voting with their keels' and setting sail, in contrast to the lower entries in racing regattas and less than full marinas.
ARC2011: Las Palmas marina. © World Cruising Club / Clare Pengelly
The entry list for ARC 2013 was opened on 14 September. Within 50 minutes of the entry list opening, 10 boats were booked, and only five days later, there are now 60 entries.
The ARC sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, bound for Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia, over 2,700 nautical miles away. The 220+ boats that take part every year are a mix of family cruisers, race boats and charter boats from more than 20 nations. Over 30 children aged under 16 sail with the ARC every year, and the oldest participant is usually in their late 70s or 80s. All are welcome!
ARC entries are at record levels this year, with potentially more than 230 boats making the start in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 25 November.
Every major boatbuilder is represented in the fleet, which ranges in size from Hanse 325 Quickie (NOR) to the 28m (92') CNB fast cruiser Bristolian (GBR); and in age from 1936 vintage boats Peregrine (GBR) and Peter von Seestermuhe (GER) to the latest launches.
Eighteen per cent of the ARC 2012 boats were launched in the last 24 months, with an amazing 26 launched in 2012. Six of these new launches are Lagoon catamarans and four are Oysters.
The circumnavigation rally World ARC, which departs Saint Lucia in January 2014 is also booking up fast, with 34 boats entered for the 15 month, 26,000 mile odyssey.
World Cruising Club Managing Director Andrew Bishop said: "The enthusiasm for joining rallies like the ARC and World ARC shows that cruisers young and old are still keen to experience the thrill of life at sea, and we are delighted to be able to help make this happen."
Top photo: Young ARC crew on the docks. Credit: World Cruising Club / James Mitchell
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