Thinking about an ocean passage? PBO’s Laura Hodgetts shares some tips from sailors setting sail with the 30th ARC
Las Palmas and the ARC
The ARC boosts the Las Palmas economy by ‘several million euros’ each year, according to World Cruising Club’s Andrew Bishop.
Gran Canaria Tourist Board has been a principal sponsor since the start and remains, along with St Lucia Tourist Board, the event’s biggest sponsors.
Andrew says: ‘The revenue the ARC brings to the island is something we ask participants. How much they spend and where they spend it. Sailors don’t like adding up what they spend, but
it’s several millions of euros as opposed to hundreds of thousands.’
Pablo Llinares, managing director of Gran Canaria Tourist Board, said this claim is backed by a Las Palmas university study, and added: ‘It’s amazing.’
The addition of the ARC+ route, which includes a stop in Cape Verde, means that rally boats now spend more than three weeks in Las Palmas. Andrew added: ‘The marina has developed along with the ARC. If you go back 25 years, it was the ARC pushing for the development of the marina and luckily we had the support of the port authority who shared the vision and had the finances to actively do it. The City of Las Palmas’ Councillor of the Sea position was inspired by the ARC.’
A huge draw for Gran Canaria is its ‘very soft climate’ with an average temperature of 24°C, rarely exceeding 28°C or dropping below 21°C, which enables a year-round calendar of outdoor
events including windsurfing world championships, surfing, sailing, marathons, music festivals and golf tournaments.
Other attractions include more than 120 beaches, small historic towns and a World Biosphere Reserve.
Pablo said: ‘Christopher Columbus visited here three out of four times on his trips to America.’
One hundred and thirty-one airports fly direct to Gran Canaria. The economy of the Canary Islands is based in Las Palmas, which has a population of 400,000 and is the ‘seventh-largest city of Spain’. Last year a record number of 3,000,600 tourists visited Gran Canaria, which 2015 looks set to beat.
Nearly one million tourists come via cruise ships, and a world-class aquarium is currently being built next to the cruise ship terminal.