With this year's ARC filling up fast World Cruising Club has accepted the hundredth entry into ARC2004. Karl-Ludvig Mauland from Oslo, has entered with his 9.10m Comfort 30 yacht called Glad.
Being at the lower end of the ARC size range it is great to see that the event is still attracting real cruising yachts, countering any criticism that the ARC is going away from the traditional routes established with the first ARC in 1986.
ARC2004 will be the nineteenth Atlantic Rally for Cruisers starting from the host port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where the fleet will begin to gather during the summer months ready for their departure on Sunday 21 November.
For the fifteenth year the yachts will finish at Rodney Bay Marina, St.Lucia, which will be hosts for a further four years as a result of a contract recently signed at the end of ARC2003.
Both the start and finish ports benefit from a huge influx of yachtsman, sailing a wide range of yachts, that need to firstly be prepared for an Atlantic crossing and then re-stocked, and possibly repaired, on arrival.
Both islands welcome the ARC participants as significant contributors to the local economy, and it is through the strength of this that World Cruising Club has been able to continually enhance the programme of activities enjoyed by participants before their departure from Gran Canaria and on arrival in St.Lucia.
Andrew Bishop, Director World Cruising Club, comments 'The ARC is a tremendous success with over 200 yachts participating each year. With over a thousand crew it is quite a challenge to organise a programme of activities both before the start, and after the finish that achieves a happy balance of providing what the participants are looking for, and at the same time trying to involve the local community in what to them is seen as an important event.
'World Cruising Club works closely with the Tourist Boards of Gran Canaria and St.Lucia to ensure that there is continual improvement each year, making the ARC better and better for the participants. With the support of other new local sponsors we have been able to achieve this, with new events added in Las Palmas and Rodney Bay.
These will become established as regular features in future ARC's as the event continually grows in prestige year by year.'
ARC2004 promises to be a truly international event with entries so far from 17 different countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden Turkey, UK and USA. Half the participants are from the UK, with Germany being the second largest group currently with 14 entrants.