Boats prepare for the ARC race in Las Palmas marina

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

After finishing our crossing from Morocco in smooth motoring conditions without further incident, we’re now in Gran Canaria in our final hours before setting off for the Atlantic crossing. We aren’t the only ones doing this by any means – in our marina at Las Palmas are around 250 other boats all participating in the ARC race, which is the famous annual trans-atlantic competition. It’s more of a fun social event than a real race, but the participants are serious sailors, and this is a much different vibe than the charter waters we came from in the summer. We aren’t competing in the ARC because the entry fees are too high for our budget, but we’ve managed to finagle our way onto the middle of the main ARC dock where all the race activity is happening, so we’re faking it pretty well and making friends with the other yachties.

Upon arrival in Gran Canaria we picked up our new friend Rupert (“Rupe”) who we met a few weeks ago in Ibiza. He’ll be showing us how to do things for the next few weeks because he’s done the Atlantic crossing before – already his experience has been invaluable during prep before even leaving the dock. Uncle Chris left us yesterday after two weeks of some serious adventure, and already we’re missing his great humor and delicious beef stew.

The past two days have been chaotic as we scramble around doing final preparation for the 2.5 week crossing. This involves a lot of food shopping and boat work, including most importantly the main sail repair, which we expect to get back later today. Once we re-install the sail, hopefully tonight, we’ll immediately set out to sea and try to chase down some of the slower boats on the ARC, which is about to officially start in a few minutes.

All eyes are on the weather forecast now, which influences the course we’ll take across the ocean. Obviously we are looking to dodge the bigger weather systems while capturing the best trade winds for the quickest possible passage. We benefit from the expert advice from the ARC forecasters and we’ll be monitoring their radio broadcasts on the way across, so it’s to our benefit to stay as close to the group as possible. We also don’t want to fall too far behind our friends on Chili Cat and Sirius, otherwise they’ll never let us live it down. Wish us luck!

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