Das war eine internationale Eröffnungsfeier !
Flags and bands celebrate the official opening of the 27th ARC
18 November 2012
With one week to go before the ARC 2012 fleet leave Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia, crews from across the world marched and danced behind their national flags in a stirring parade around Las Palmas Marina.
At midday Sunday November 18, hundreds of ARC participants took part in the Official Opening Ceremony for ARC 2012. Flag bearers from representing Gran Canaria, Spain, Saint Lucia, the European Union and 25 of the main nationalities in the ARC fleet paraded behind the Banda Gran Canaria. The grand parade had a real festival atmosphere as participants young and old waved flags and cheered.
Andrew Bishop introduced local dignitaries who spoke a few words about the importance of the ARC to Gran Canaria and Saint Lucia. Speakers included Sr Luis Ibarra, President of the Port of Las Palmas; Mimi Gonzales from the Concejal del Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas (City of Las Palmas); Sean Compton (Saint Lucia ARC Welcome Committee); Sr Melchor Camon, of the Patronato de Turismo de Gran Canaria; ARC founder Jimmy Cornell; and World Cruising Club managing director Andrew Bishop.
Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club declared ARC 2012 officially „open“, and the country flags were proudly hoisted on flagpoles around the marina to a six gun salute.
The fiesta atmosphere continued with ARC participants and local people racing the local ‚vela latina‘ boats outside the harbour. These lateen-rigged wooden boats are unique to Las Palmas, and the racing was kindly organised by the Federacion Vela Latina and the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas.
In the first week of ARC activities in Las Palmas, crews have enjoyed daily social events, seminars on cruising topics and the opportunity to plant another 200 trees in the ARC Forest in the mountains above the city.
ARC activities continue this week, with more crew flying in to join their boats. 202 of the 232 confirmed entries are now in the marina, and the remaining boats are expected in the next few days.