A huge crowd showed up today to wave off and cheer the 217 yachts, which crossed the start line in this year's ARC.
Right the way along the sea wall of the Las Palmas marina there were well-wishers taking advantage of a beautiful day making for a picture perfect start.
In the RORC Racing Division, Bellerose, a Swan 60 was the first to cross the line after the gun was fired at 12.55. In the Cruising Division another Swan, Rosy Pelican, a Swan 44 crossed the start line first in the main cruising division start at 13.15.
On a dry, hot, sunny day the yachts set off in gentle NE Force 2, but as the majority of the yachts crossed the start line the wind filled to a pleasant Force 3 making for the perfect conditions for the start.
A sea of spinnakers was hoisted, creating a brightly coloured mass across the horizon, with many yachts sounding their horns to create a truly stunning spectacle. There was even a helmsman dressed up in a Father Christmas suit obviously sailing off to spend the festive season in the Caribbean!
Today's spectacular start follows a week of activity in the bustling port of Las Palmas. The participants, totalling almost 1,100 enjoyed seminars, lectures, skipper suppers and parties long into the night but most could not wait to get to the start line and begin their dream and adventure of sailing to the stunning Caribbean island of St Lucia. The first racing yachts are due to arrive after 12 days at sea where fresh food and that first rum punch will be waiting for them!