Sailors get ready for start of the trans-Atlantic rally on Sunday

The pontoons of Las Palmas were a hive of activity this morning as sailors ramped up their efforts to prepare for the start of the 2012 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) on Sunday.
 
ARC participants have been putting the finishing touches to their yachts, stocking up on fresh food and making a last-minute trip to the chandlers to buy the safety gear they need to pass the ARC’s strict safety inspections.

Local shops have been helping by delivering last-minute provisions to the pontoons; this morning one company delivered five shopping trolleys full of bottled water.
 
The 1,250 people involved in the ARC all seem to be trying to finish before the evening so they can join the legendary farewell cocktail party, hosted by the Gran Canaria Tourist Board.
 
Tomorrow the yachts will begin to check out from 8.30 am, followed by a skipper’s briefing at midday and a last farewell party in the evening.
 
The final check out will take place Sunday morning before the various divisions start the rally from 12.30 onwards.

The annual transatlantic rally has become the largest transocean sailing

event in the world, with 230 boats taking part this year, and takes on average between 14 and 21 days.