Preparing for the ARC

We haven’t been able to do much sailing during the winter, but we have been enjoying our time in Tunisia, and getting some projects done. I really like Tunisia, it’s a slower pace of life, and the people are friendly and helpful.

Things are starting to get exciting now as we begin our preparations for the 2018 ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) which we will be joining this year for our Atlantic Ocean crossing. A rally is a group of boats traveling together and following an organized route and itinerary. We were part of the Sail Indonesia rally a few years ago when we sailed from Darwin, Australia to Singapore, and it was a fantastic experience for us. We learned a lot, made lifelong friends, and had a great time sharing the experience with other sailors. So, given the choice of crossing the Atlantic on our own or with a rally, it was an easy decision to join the ARC.

The ARC leaves Las Palmas, Canary Islands on November 25th, and the crossing typically takes 15 – 20 days (depending on the weather) to travel the 2,680 nautical miles to Saint Lucia. Not only are we really looking forward to the passage, but we are also very happy that some friends and family will be joining us to help out. Robin’s brother Kirk is coming with us, and so are our long time friends Misti and Clive who are living in Australia. Gavin will be in University, so having some extra hands on board will be a nice help, and will give us a 6 person watch rotation!

Last week we received the ARC 2018 handbook, which is a lengthy read, and full of detailed information, instructions and tips on how to participate in, and get the most out of the ARC. The good news is that it takes a lot of the guess work out of the passage planning and safety preparations. The bad news is that although I tried to configure Wildling pretty comprehensively for ocean voyaging, we are not in compliance with many of the ARC requirements, and we would fail the inspections that are done prior to departure, so I have some work to do to get us ready!

None of the ARC requirements seem unreasonable, and some of them I knew we had to meet anyway, but still I was a bit surprised to see how many of the checks that we currently FAIL. The biggest issue is their requirement for two independent systems of navigation lights, which will require us to install a tri-color light at the top of the mast. I wish I had known that when we were building the boat!

WILDLING fails the ARC checklist πŸ™

Here’s the list of checks that each boat must pass before being allowed to take part in the ARC.

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Our plans are to try and haul out in Malta in August so we can get the bottom repainted and service the saildrive legs. I should be able to get most of our failures addressed by then. We also need to get some rigging checks done, and fix an issue with our instruments before leaving for the Canary Islands.

I’ll post a lot more info about our experience with the ARC as we go along.

10 thoughts on “Preparing for the ARC

  1. Super helpful to see the checklist. If i’m going to go buy equipment for my boat I might as well outfit it to ARC standards the first time out. Thanks!

  2. Doug, I very good idea to use the ARC checklist / compliance rules as a guide when buying a boat to ensure it is fitted out to meet these requirements – it is a comprehensive list to comply too but all good especially the two independent systems of navigation lights, installing a tri-color light at the top of the mast.

  3. Hi Doug and Robin , Thanks for the opportunity to be part of your crew for the crossing Nice to see that most of the items that need attending aren’t too complicated , apart from the Mast Tricolour. If you need a 2nd head to bounce things off , glad to offer verbal assistance now and lots of muscle and sweat when we get there. All the best Clive and Misti.

    • Hi Clive, it’s great that you can come with us! I will take you up on your offer and ask some advice. As I look into the tricolor light issue a bit more, I realized the reason we don’t have one is because we have a rotating mast. A tricolor has to be aligned with the heading of the vessel, so of course on a rotating mast, the tricolor would indicate the vessel is heading in a different direction than it actually is, and in this case would be a safety hazard. Does this reasoning make sense to you? I’m also going to check with the Outremer owner’s group to see how other folks have dealt with this issue.


      • Hi Doug, sounds like your reasoning is sound. To keep the light facing forward while the mast rotates is going to take a wonderful mechanical linkage or a electronic stepper motor , both of which are prone to fail. So in an effort to keep things simple and to satisfy the rally requirements, I think doubling up on the bow and stern deck nav lights on a seperate circuit sounds a go. Also emergency battery clamp on bow and stern nav lights might do.
        All the best,

  4. Seems like a lot on this list is good to have on any boat crossing. Some of the the stuff howeaver on the list is a bit over the top.

  5. Adding a hand operated watermaker to a grab bag is a good idea, but I heard that some sailors prefer fo use a Sea Pack and solar still, because it allows you to get water more easy in case you are hurt or tired. What do you think about those?

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