- Oliver Solanas Heinrichs
Viking Explorers 2022 fleet departure to Grenada
The Viking Explorers fleet en-route to Port Louis Marina in Grenada, under strong Tradewinds
The participants of the 5th edition of the Viking Explorers departed the Marina Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands after months of preparations.
20 boats and 71 crews from all around the world departed early in the morning on the 6th of January with strong Tradewinds, whereas some decided to leave a day later.
Crews from Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Sweden, Netherlands, Poland and Germany with boats ranging from 9m to 17m departed en-route to Port Louis Marina in Grenada in a strong start and the fleet is now sailing fast southwards.
Some boats will sail towards the Cape Verde for an intermediate stop and other will sail on the direct route to Grenada.
Its been a few weeks since they all met in Las Palmas on the 12th of December and enjoyed a full week of seminars, parties and get-together and got help from the Viking Explorers team to prepare their boats before a Christmas break.
The designated T pontoon in the Marina Las Palmas for the Viking Explorers 2022 is now empty after all the excitement and preparations, food deliveries, last minute shopping and spare parts had been delivered in the previous days and the tracking fleet map is active and communications had been tested.
Everyone knows each other, everyone helped out, even those fishing experts gave away their precious knowledge, in a truly family atmosphere.
Reg Hodgins captain of Misty Blue a Malo 43MkII Classic, says,
We are thrilled to participate at this friendly rally and we expect some 25-30 knots from the North East for the first days, so it will take us about six and a half days to Mindelo. We expect to catch a big Mahi Mahi and look forward to meet all the family in Grenada.”
The fleet had been instructed by the Viking Explorers team for the PCR testing which was preformed with the collaboration of a local hospital.
After these testing, participants were advised to follow a strict social distancing protocols and create a “ bubble “ within their fleet.
As a standard, 2 days before departure the Skippers Briefing at the prestigious Royal Yacht Club of Gran Canaria was attended by 2 crews per boat within a very strict Covid-19 protocol. At this briefing, the routing, weather and special requirements were discussed and the fleet decided to leave on the expected departure, the 6th of January after checking all weather models. Indeed, the fleet looked into a strong start with the prevailing Tradewinds. A strong positioned Azores High would give some 20knt+ winds and 2-3 meter waves for the first days. A nice strong downwind sailing for a few days before the weather settles.
It was a truly emotional moment when the Viking Explorer´s fleet departed the marina, the sound of horns, fellow sailors shouting and celebrating the departure of those intrepid sailors that after years of preparations, are now looking into the adventure of crossing the Atlantic.
The Viking Explorers offers two routes so from the 20 boats 11 will sail to Mindelo, on the Cape Verde Islands for an intermediate stop. The Mindelo Marina and Viking Explorers staff will be awaiting the fleet and give them a warm welcome and after a few days they will depart to Grenada.
Not to forget the important GOES Project, supported by the rally where 10 boats are participating in taking plankton samples.
Dr. Howard Dryden, on board SY Copepod will be leading the group and says:
What we are doing with the citizen science project could be hugely important, it may end up being one of the most intensive and extensive surveys of micro-plastic undertaken.”
The Viking Explorers has been so far a tremendous success and this year it has been again a very special event due to the Pandemic situation and the organization has had a big support by many, where everyone has contributed to the success, adapting to the continuous changing health protocols.
The 6th edition of the Viking Explorers 2023, has already 20 entries and is filling in fast.