The 7th edition the Viking Explorers Rally kicked off in Marina Las Palmas on the Canary Islands, on Sunday 10th of December, as usual since 2018 on the second Sunday of December, with seminars and parties.
An international fleet of 25 boats ranging from 34ft to 76ft and 80 crews from The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, United States, Italy, Spain, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Latvia, gathered at the Conference Hall at the Club Marítimo Varadero, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, on the Canary Islands.
As usual, managing Director Oliver Solanas Heinrichs welcomed all sailors and asked every crew to come on stage to present themselves to their fellow sailors. Though most would already know each other, online , due to the Online Get-togethers performed by the rally during previous months. A very fun and emotive presentation took place while Carlota, PR and Viking Explorers Europe Manager, handed over the Welcome Packs to the crews. Marike Derks from Seven Star Yacht Transport, also welcomed all sailors on behalf of the company.
The first seminar was the important Safety Seminar “What If”, based not only on the World Sailing Offshore Regulations, but also on the own experience from many sailors, that have done the crossing before.
After a break, the participants posed for the Viking Explorers Family photo and it already felt like a nice group of sailors with the same aim, to cross the Atlantic in a safe, but more private group.
The Provisioning Seminar and assistance by local Carlota helped the crews with their orders, the Weather Seminar and the Get Connected Seminar were also presented as well as the very interesting Tricks and Tips for the Caribbean. The seminar presented by Sevenstar Yacht Transport, gave also some very interesting information.
Up until now, participants could order their special medicines for their first aid kit, with the collaboration of Farmacia Valido Sanromán. The first aid kit seminar and the list provided by the organization, helps participants to order last important medical supplies. Thank you to all the staff of the pharmacy, that has been supporting the rally for years now. A tight collaboration between the rally organization and the pharmacy ensures to have the best and most useful products for an Atlantic Crossing. Very important !
For many years the rally has been collaborating with the House of Galicia, a charity institution that collects toys for children in need. So no child without a present at Christmas 🎄
The Rally asks the participants every year to donate presents 🎁
But this year the Rally organizers found out, that Camila and Robin, from S/Y Alba , had collected money within the fleet, up to more than 700€ worth of presents were brought over to the Conference Hall. And today, together with Robin and Camila we delivered the presents.
One of the volunteers explained to them how everything works, in this charity founded in 1951.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, to Robin and Camila and to all the Viking Explorers 2024 fleet.
Participants enjoyed 2 weeks of seminars, parties, a tour and dinners, and even improvised pontoon parties, like it happened after the first day of seminars, on Sunday.
After the first preparations, seminars and parties before Christmas, the important Skippers Briefing was attended by all Captains and First Mates two days before departure. Crews were instructed about the route, weather and approach procedures to the marinas, as well as deciding for the departure on the 6th. It was voted to leave in the morning between 10 and 12 utc.
In the evening, participants enjoyed the Captains Dinner, sponsored this year by Sevenstar Yacht Transport.
The fleet had been testing their satellite devices with the rally organization to ensure that every boat is able to contact the organization in case of any eventuality and all tracking devices were activated.
It was then time for the scheduled deliveries. Deep frozen and vacuum packed meat, vegetable and fruit deliveries were coordinated by the VE team, companies and participants.
The clear out from the country was coordinated together with the police and the rally organization as every year, one day before departure and the fleet ..., was ready for departure.
....and as scheduled, "around" 10:00utc on the 6th of January 2024,
On the 6th of January in the morning the fleet set sail, expecting a slower sail as usual towards Cape Verde.
Indeed a big storm was developing in the Atlantic which was going to be monitored closely by the organization. Though it would not directly affect the route south to Mindelo, but would have an effect on the trade winds.
The fleet departed under blue skies and light winds from the east for their first 850 miles.
The Viking Explorers have become an interesting alternative to cross the Atlantic. It is a "non competitive" Rally, a 2,700-nautical-mile sailing adventure that takes participants from the Canary Islands to Grenada via Cape Verde. The event, which was first held in 2018, has quickly become a very popular sailing event, attracting participants from all over the globe. Viking Explorers is an exciting exclusive rally with a maximum of 25 boats. With a reduced fleet the rally focusses in giving the best customer service possible and aims to maximize safety and the camaraderie between the fleet.