07Jan2022 – 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.
During this week participants attended the various seminars from Safety to the very interesting Tips and Tricks for the Caribbean, with the knowledge of the core organizers Oliver and Carlota, who have spent their last 4 years sailing the Windward Islands and leave their boat at hurricane safe Grenada while assisting the fleet on the Canary Islands.
Carlota, PR for Viking Explorers and who is local from Las Palmas ensured the deliveries and orders and organized a walk along the old town of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a town with a lot of history. Do you know Columbus ?
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.
Reg Huggings 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.”
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.
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.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Viking Explorers is a small reduced fleet with a maximum of 25 boats. The ethos is not to be the biggest possible group but the friendliest one.
The start of the 5th edition is from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the 6th of January, but this is decided by captains 2 days before. It is a unanimous decision.
Participants have the choice of two routes, the direct route to Port Louis Marina in Grenada, 2800 miles, or with an alternative stop in Mindelo, Cape Verde, 850 miles and then 2200 miles.
Viking Explorers is not a race and the organization encourages the fleet to help each other. There is no compulsory equipment but some safety guidelines and restrictions need to be followed.
The first Viking Explorers left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 2018 to Barbados being a completely free event with no sponsors. Since 2018 , the Viking Explorers do charge a low fee and has been supported by Tourism Authorities, companies, cruising associations and passionate sailors.
The Viking Explorers does a great effort in helping the environment. It collaborates with the Program Sail and Whale, the GOES Foundation and local companies. Participants are encouraged to forward data with sightings of cetaceans and plankton observations among others.
The Viking Explorers tries to reduce their negative impact towards the environment, reduces drastically plastic used at their events, and creates awareness within the sailing community for a better and cleaner planet.
The organization has been in constant contact with the authorities and have introduced all health protocols within their rally. All participants have to be vaccinated to be part of the fleet, which is being constantly updated on all maters and has the support of the Hospital Perpetuo Socorro in Gran Canaria for PCR testing.
The Viking Explorers 2022 is sponsored by the Grenada Tourism Authority, Camper & Nicholson Port Louis Marina and Westerhall Rum. Budget Marine being the official supplier for the Caribbean and minor sponsors “Friends of Viking Explorers”, are Imray, Hydrovane, Predictwind, Puerto Tazacorte, Marina Mindelo, Island Dreams Grenada, Coyaba, Yacht Agents Galapagos, Clarke Carter Caribbean, Moorsafe, Dive Grenada, Arehucas, Spice Island Marine, Naturbrush, Blue Light Gin, True Blue Bay, Bambaw and Eis-Insurance. The Seven Seas Cruising Association, the Ocean Cruising Club, Trans-Ocean, Anavre, 8islas.com, The Royal Yacht Club of Gran Canaria, the Grenada Yacht Club and MAYAG (Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada) have also been supporting the rally.
For photos please check: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1nVbFPNZU9nA6j6qKXs-ELz10lTYOgS8d?usp=sharing
For more information please contact our media department at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information visit : www.vikingexplorersrally.com