The shopping's stowed, the flags are down and the crews have checked out. Soon they'll be crossing the Atlantic

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Moderate to strong winds are expected for the start of the ARC+ today in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Around 70 boats will be taking part in the rally, sailing to Grenada via the Cape Verdes.

PBO has been on the pontoons meeting the sailors, and also catching up with World Cruising Club’s communications manager, Sarah Collins.

“Last year we had about 25% of the boats we normally do, this year we’re up to 75%,” she said. “It definitely feels more like the rally we remember from the years before Covid!”

The skippers attended a briefing with weather expert Chris Tibbs yesterday. After a quick departure and 48-hour ‘whisk’ south, the boats are expected to meet calmer conditions for the remainder of the 865-mile voyage to Mindelo.

Anyone thinking of doing the ARC next year needs to be quick, however. Entries opened in September, and the ARC+ (which takes 100 boats) is nearly full. There are still places available on the larger rally, the ARC, which sails direct to St Lucia from Gran Canaria late November 2022.

You can find out more about the Atlantic Rally for Cruising (ARC) on the World Cruising Club site, and more about the island where the ARC participants are gathering, at www.grancanaria.com.

Read the full stories of the ARC+ participants in the February edition of Practical Boat Owner and watch more videos from the ARC on our YouTube channel.