Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) 2019

The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is the most popular trans Ocean event in the world. Held annually since 1986 it regularly attracts over 200 entries and the limit of 225 is often reached by May.

The route is the classic Trade Wind passage from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia, a distance of approximately 2800 miles. Most of the course is in the Trade Wind belt where the wind blows steadily from the North-East at between 15 and 25 knots, making for some fantastic down-wind sailing. We will be sailing in the Racing Division and we will have to comply with World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations Category 1.

The race starts on Sunday 24 November and we can expect to take around 18 days to complete the crossing.

Skippered by Peter Hopps, RYA Ocean Yachtmaster Instructor and Examiner.


Campaign Outline

There will be a maximum of 4 crew plus Skipper – this means that crew will be fully involved in everything including provisioning, helming, sail trim, cooking etc. It also means we have more room on the boat and less food and water to carry. There will also be the opportunity to learn celestial navigation.

31 August – 1 September, Training Weekend

This will be an important weekend where we will get to know the boat and each other. We will practice sailing manoeuvres and safety drills. It will also cover the safety equipment carried.

18 – 23 November, In Pas Palmas, Gran Canaria

You can aim to arrive any time during the week, but preferably by Thursday 21st. We will do some practice sailing to make sure we’re properly set up for the crossing. During the week we will also provision the boat and we will aim to eat well on the crossing. The ARC Organisers, World Cruising, also lay on a number of seminars and lectures during the week, as well as lots of parties. This is a fun and informative week and not to be missed!

Sunday 24 November, ARC starts

The adventure of a lifetime.

11 – 14 December (estimated) Arrive in Saint Lucia

We will be met on the finish line by the organisers who welcome us with rum and refreshments. We will spend a few days there: again, lots of parties and celebrations.

The Boat

Sam is a Sigma 38, built in 1991. The Sigma was conceived as a proper offshore racing boat, capable of surviving heavy weather when necessary while still having a good turn of speed in all conditions. At 38 feet it is large enough to cope and yet small enough to be manageable. It is also of a size where everyone on the crew gets the chance to do a bit of everything, whereas on a larger yacht you tend to specialize more so the smaller boat is actually a better learning experience. Sam is fully equipped with all the required safety gear.

Since we bought Sam we have completed 6 Trans-Atlantic crossings on her and 2 Fastnet campaigns, so she is proven and seaworthy.

The sail wardrobe is relatively simple, with Nos 1,2 and 3 headsails, a reaching headsail, originally 2 spinnakers but we now have 3, plus storm jib and storm trysail. Despite their age, they are still very competitive under IRC and as they are generally more comfortable at sea than some more modern boats and as a result, they are often better on the longer races, such as the Fastnet, ARC etc, where sleeping and eating well are more important.

The Skipper

Peter Hopps is an Ocean Yachtmaster Instructor and Examiner and as such he is an expert on all aspects of ocean sailing and will be very happy to share his knowledge including celestial navigation.

  • Completed 19 Trans-Atlantic passages
  • Completed 13 Fastnet Races
  • 8 Rolex Middle Sea Races
  • 4 Round Britain Races
  • 10 RORC Caribbean 600 Races
  • 1 Newport-Bermuda Race
  • Extensive cruising in English Channel, Mediterranean, Baltic, Caribbean, Ireland and more.


The Campaign will cost £4250, which includes:

  • The yacht in race-worthy condition, including all safety equipment
  • Accommodation on board during racing, the training weekend, for the week in Gran Canaria and for a few days after arrival in Saint Lucia.
  • 1 Training Weekend
  • The ARC
  • Race entry
  • Skipper’s fee
  • Mooring fees
  • All food and provisions while at sea
  • NOT Included
  • Meals and drinks ashore
  • Personal Insurance
  • Transport to and from the boat.

Payment Terms

£750 on Booking; the balance can be paid in instalments to be full paid by 15 October 2019.

Booking Form