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ARC 2017 Sets Sail from Gran Canaria

While the ARC is a cruising rally, there is a start and finish line, and the boats are split into divisions according to size, type and competition, sailing directly to Saint Lucia.

The first start Sunday was for the Multihull Division, led over the line by American flagged Lagoon 42-4 Libélula.

Followed by Seawind 1160 X86 and the fleet’s largest trimaran, Rapido, living up to her name coming over the line third before storming off down the Gran Canarian coast.

Following on, 27 boats in the ARC Racing Division were equally eager to stretch their sea legs and sail out into the Atlantic.

Experience paid off for the top three boats to cross the line, with returning Austrian training boat Godspeed leading the way.

Regular ARC Skipper and Class winner Ross Applebey brought through Scarlet Island Girl hot on her heels swiftly followed by Valerio Bardi’s Swan 46 Mk II Milanto.

Arguably the biggest spectacle of day for the hundreds of wellwishers watching from the shore was at 13:00 as the Cruising Division assembled for their start.

It was quite a sight to see them spread along the line with a few flying bright asymmetrics in the light breeze.

Representing the truly international diversity of the rally, first boats to cross the line were Norwegian Arcona 400 Tiffin, Swedish Najad 460 Ellen and British Grand Soleil 56 Mad Monkey.

A ridge of high pressure currently over the Canary Islands has been providing lovely sunny days in Las Palmas, and delivered light 8-12 knots (force 3 to 4) ENE winds for the start.

It’s set to increase as boats sail away from Gran Canaria, before easing on Monday morning.

Over a week ago, a small first fleet of 70 boats sailing with ARC+ 2017 left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, deviating the course around the Cape Verdes.

Of the 186 boats in the ARC, four are still in Las Palmas with technical problems delaying their departure.

All are hopeful that these can be resolved swiftly and they will be able to depart Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as soon as possible.

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