24 Oct 2008

Gran Canaria gears up for the biggest show on sea

Published in Living in Gran Canaria, News

For once it's not just the salt you can feel in the sea air around Gran Canaria, there is a strong feel of excitement and expectancy as the island prepares for the ARC 2008, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. The biggest trans-ocean race is already fully booked with 225 boats and crew from all over the world, all fine tuning for the November 23 departure from Las Palmas. The race was established in 1986 and has grown in stature and anticipation each year, as crews brace themselves for the 2,700 nautical mile trip to St Lucia in the West Indies, the expected crossing is between 15 and 17 days. Already yachts and catamarans have arrived to get in some practice, and to enjoy the friendly rivalry that goes with the race. To take part a catamaran must be between 8.23 metres (27 feet)Â and 18.29 m (29 feet) long, cruising mono-hulls can be slightly longer, up to 25.91m (85 feet). Two weeks before the race start, a full programme of social events swings into action in and around Las Palmas, with the backing of the Gran Canaria tourist board. Barbecues, cocktail parties and mini boat races keep everyone happy, but a whole day is devoted to safety awareness and involves the coastguard. As the crews put their craft through pre-race training, the magnificent sleek lines of the yachts and catamarans will be seen around the coast, and crews and the large world media presence will all get to see plenty of Gran Canaria to learn about its charms. By Cardenas News