by Carol Bareuther
Sailors who wish to migrate north for the summer at the close of the traditional Caribbean cruising season now have two routes from which to choose. The U.K.-based World Cruising Club has combined features of its two “homewardbound” rallies—ARC USA and ARC Europe—to enable U.S.-bound cruisers to sail to Florida or Virginia. Cruisers start together May 3rd out of Nanny Cay Marina in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and follow a roughly 1,000-nm course north past Puerto Rico to Haiti, west of the Silver Banks to the Old Bahamas Channel, where the end point is the Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Those cruisers whose destination is the Chesapeake can join the ARC Europe fleet for an 845-nm passage to St. George’s, Bermuda. The stopover in Bermuda offers a chance to re-group, say goodbye to those headed to Europe and choose a suitable weather window en route to the Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. These rallies aren’t competitive races. Rather, they appeal to lessexperienced bluewater cruisers who appreciate the pre-rally practical seminars and safety demonstrations, and the ability to keep in touch with rally veterans while underway via the daily SSB radio net. These rallies also attract cruisers who enjoy the camaraderie of the pre-rally parties and post-rally prizes. A fleet of 20 boats is expected to set sail for Florida while 30-some yachts are anticipated to make Virginia or Europe their final destination. worldcruising.com/arc_usa