ARC boats in Mindelo harbour

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers boats in Mindelo

Since 1986 the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) has been held in November. The event starts from Las Palmas on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands and heads over the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Boats from all over the world come together for this event.

There are three routes for the sailors to chose from. One of those is via Mindelo on the island of São Vicente in Cape Verde. The boats stay in Mindelo for between three and five days before setting off for Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. This picture shows some of the boats at Mindelo.

Another route is similarly from Las Palmas to Mindelo then over to St. Vincent rather than Saint Lucia. The third route is direct to Saint Lucia from Las Palmas.

Organised by The World Cruising Club, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is open to all, including couples, families, racers, and large or small boats. It is not just a race across the Atlantic, because it is also a social event where friendships are made before the race commences and during the race by keeping in touch by radio. On arrival in Saint Lucia crews are met with a rum punch and a cold beer.

Mindelo is the main town on the island of São Vicente, and it is a tourist and cultural centre, with a lively atmosphere. It was discovered in 1462, but only really became developed in the 19th Century. The deep harbour meant that it became a refuelling stop for shipping. The restored buildings and refurbished squares are indicative of this being a prosperous town. There are many restaurants and also a cultural centre, and arts and crafts workshops and exhibitions. Mindelo is also home to the only marina in West Africa.