World Cruising Club, organisers of the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) has announced changes to the entry limits for the ARC, effective from ARC 2005, the twentieth edition of this popular rally.
Designed to return the ARC to its origins - a transatlantic rally for cruising yachts - the upper limit on a yacht's length overall (LOA) has been lowered to 18.29m enabling the organisers to focus the ARC firmly on the majority of cruising yachts. This move excludes some of the larger yachts that have previously entered the ARC.
In recent years, World Cruising Club has been criticized by some participants who perceive that the ARC has become "an event for big corporate yachts".
Whilst large yachts (60ft+) make up a relatively small percentage of the fleet at around 15%, their size and large crews mean that these yachts have a much bigger visual impact in the marinas than the majority of the ARC yachts which typically are between 13.40-16.75m (44-55ft) LOA.
An obvious benefit of this change is that more smaller cruising yachts will be able to participate, since limits on docking space have restricted the numbers of yachts able to join the ARC over the last five years. The average ARC participant, i.e. those with yachts between 13.40 - 16.76m LOA, will not notice any significant change to the rally.
Andrew BISHOP, Director of ARC organisers, World Cruising Club commented. "For the twentieth ARC we wanted to refocus the rally back on to its core participants, the owners of typical cruising yachts. Whilst some owners of larger yachts might be disappointed by this change, we hope that they will appreciate the advantages offered by the Rubicon Antigua Challenge, which will become a more exclusive event for yachts over 18.30m."
RAC targets 60 + footers
To complement the ARC and cater for the larger yachts displaced from it, World Cruising Club's second transatlantic event, the Rubicon Antigua Challenge (RAC) is positioned as the exclusive event for yachts ranging from 18.30m (60ft) up to 36.58m (120ft) LOA.
For 2005, the RAC will be limited to larger yachts, which Lanzarote's Marina Rubicon and Jolly Harbour Marina in Antigua are well suited to handle, with modern facilities and plenty of space to dock even the largest yachts. World Cruising Club anticipates around 35+ yachts will join the new RAC in its first year.
The event will be more cohesive since crossing times within the fleet will be similar, and the yachts should arrive in Antigua much closer together. This also has an obvious benefit at sea since the yachts will be sailing closer together during the crossing, making for exciting competition on the water, especially in the racing division.
Raising the size limit for the RAC now enables entries to be accepted from an increasing number of owners of larger yachts who apply to join the ARC, but who, to date, have had to be rejected.