Why sail across the Atlantic in 2019

The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2019


Why do people do it?

A little over 526 years ago Christopher Columbus headed west across the Atlantic for the first time from Las Palmas, covering around 2,700 nautical miles between 3 and 4 weeks. The sailing trip from Barcelona to Las Palmas itself is over 1,200 nautical miles to navigate along the Spanish coastline, the strait of Gibraltar then into the Atlantic ocean to make final preparations on the island of Gran Canaria whilst awaiting the trade winds.


The ARC now attracts sailors from many different backgrounds, approximately 800 people attempt this sailing trip on 200 boats. This event is a voyage of our times, whilst Columbus heralded the age of discovery, the ARC is an event vital to the age of self discovery. This is a modern human condition that questions our perception of leading a normal life and asking the questions, who am I and what the hell am I doing here?


Among this years participants are families, husbands, wives and 2 kids packed up in a 40 ft sailing boat for a sailing trip of self discovery. Initially reluctant sailors due to sea sickness, it was deemed not just important but a necessity to fulfil dreams and give their children a lifetime experience without wifi and games consoles. It took a while for the initial complaints to disperse but with homeschooling possible, the finer subtleties of life are slowly being appreciated as they now have an understanding that there is more to life than what the modern world currently provides.


There are a few vagabonds making an attempt to sail or drift across to their own versions of a promised land, drinking the wave not the water, be at one with nature, carpe diem. There are sailors that don’t have the luxury of their own boat but have a desire for freedom in return for some experienced watch keeping duties. For some of these crew members this will not be their first Atlantic crossing at all, people can be drawn for many other reasons, some for the fame, some to escape romantic complications and some in part of a safer crossing with company as part of a round the world voyage.


It would seem that for whatever reason people find to make the decision to take part in the ARC, the yearning to run before the trade winds wing to wing across one of the worlds greatest wilderness is something beautiful, that supports and lends a hand to ones self discovery. Christopher Columbus may have been commissioned to find an alternative route to a land of spices off the beaten track, away from a land crossing of Europe and Asia with all it’s perils. The gift of his frantic search over 500 years ago has led to this great sailing event taking place at a certain time each year when the trade winds kick in. Having the security of being accompanied with a gps and other safety devices enables our desire for self discovery, and there is still a mystery and magnificence to this sailing trip of a lifetime.