For the second consecutive year, a portion of the ARC Europe fleet will depart from Hampton, VA, bound ultimately for the shores of Portugal, an ocean away.
At press time, thirty-six yachts were signed up to take part in this year’s event, organized by the World Cruising Club, which was originally founded in the 1980s by well-known sailor/writer Jimmy Cornell. Cornell started the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) in 1986 with over 200 yachts sailing from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, and the event has enjoyed considerable success since.
The World Cruising Club has recently taken over the Cruising Rally Association, which, with inspiration from its leader Steve Black, had been running the Caribbean 1500 from Hampton for over twenty years.
“From the beginning, the World Cruising Club has known exactly what to do,” Black said before the start of last fall’s event, the first in which he was only a participant. “They have immense experience running long ocean events. I am delighted with the job they’re doing.”
ARC Europe was envisioned as a return rally for yachts that made the crossing from Europe in the fall with the larger ARC, and wished to complete an Atlantic Circuit. The majority of the fleet, comprised of yachts ranging from 40-60 feet will depart Nanny Cay in Tortola, BVI on the same day, and the two fleets will rendezvous in Bermuda for a short stopover before continuing on to the Azores and ultimately to the finish in Lagos, Portugal.
Previously, the event had departed from St. Augustine, Florida. The World Cruising Club has since elected to use Hampton as the new starting point. The city near the mouth of the Chesapeake serves as the World Cruising Club’s USA hub, and all of its East Coast events now start here.
The World Cruising Club, itself an English company based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, has had a growing presence on our side of the pond over the past few years since acquiring Black’s Cruising Rally Association. In March they hosted an Ocean Sailing Seminar in Annapolis, MD to educate people new to the sport of bluewater sailing and promote their events, and they have had a presence at major boat shows on the East Coast. The organization now runs the Caribbean 1500, Atlantic Cup and ARC Europe, all events with a USA component, and continues to attract an increasing number of American yachts for their farther-flung events like ARC and World ARC.
For information on ARC Europe and other WCC events, see worldcruising.com.
Andy Schell is the editor of All at Sea Southeast, and a professional yacht captain. He is sailing in this year’s ARC Europe event onboard Kinship, a Saga 43. Find him online at fathersonsailing.com.