Haji is a Rival 38A, bought as a home completion project in 1977, and fitted out in the garden by my Grandad. She finally came to completion in 1983.
This year she is off on a big adventure – her first in a while: The ARC+!
What is the ARC?
The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is a ‘cruising race’ that has been held annually since 1986. It is the largest trans-ocean sailing event in the world, bringing boats of all different shapes and sizes, from all over the world, to come together and join in this incredible adventure. The aim is not necessarily to win (I may just be saying that as Mate of one of the slower boats), but rather to meet like-minded people, and become part of a community.
The ARC route (Gran Canaria directly to St Lucia) covers over 2700 nautical miles, and can take up to 31 days, depending on the trade winds. The ARC+ is a more recent adaptation of the race. It separates the trip into two legs, breaking the journey up with a stop-over in Cape Verde. This is the variation that we will be taking part in.
Where are we going?
Setting sail on 5th November, we will ‘race’ to Cape Verde from Gran Canaria (865 nautical miles, 1602km, 995 miles), then on to the finish line in Rodney Bay, St Lucia (a further 2090nm, 3870km, 2405 miles).
As Haji is moored in France, we must first sail her to the Canaries, where the race begins. This is a whole other adventure in itself. The first leg of the journey will have us (a crew of five) sailing through Spain, then to Portugal where we will leave Haji to rest in Lisbon for a month.
In October, we kick off leg 2, this time as a crew of four; those who will take part in the ARC+.
To make things more exciting, we will head to Gran Canaria via Madeira, because… why not?
Watch this map to see how we are getting on. A GPS signal will be transmitted a few times a day, giving our exact location (click on one of the dots for more info!) You will still be able to ‘see’ us even when we are far out to sea, right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!
Why are we going?
My grandparents lived on board Haji for many years, sailing around the world. They first entered the ARC in 1986, but had to withdraw due to crew illness. However, in 1987 they completed the rally, sailing from Gran Canaria to Barbados.
Now – 2017, 30 years on – my Dad and I want to celebrate Haji‘s first Atlantic crossing by participating in this year’s ARC+ race.
Of course the opportunity for excitement, new experiences, fresh challenges, and a chance to see a whole different part of the World were too good to pass up.
Who is going?
As we set off on the initial part of the trip, there will be five of us on board. My Dad, Devin, and I will be on all legs of the journey. Joining us as far as Lisbon, we have Holly and Alex who have both been learning to sail on board Haji over the past few years.
Before departing for Madeira, we will welcome back our beloved Bosun Brendan, whom has become increasingly familiar with Haji on his frequent expeditions around the Breton coast. The ARC crew is now complete.