Our Colleagues Ships Ahoy9th November 2015 - 18th December 2015Happening nation wideAtlantic Rally for Cruisers Described as a 'must do' for sailors, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) sails 2,700 nautical miles across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia. Our colleague, Elizabeth Ziegler (Head of Cards Customer Service Delivery) participated in 2015 and brought along a special friend, Pudsey Bear, to help him learn the ropes. Elizabeth says "It’s traditionally a cruising rally meaning boats aren’t competing but I decided to do it in the smaller racing division which is a sub-set of boats ranging from professional ocean racers down to keen people like those on my boat. I decided to do this for two reasons, firstly I promised myself that I’d never do it when on a particularly cold and rough night in the Fastnet race and secondly with the Group’s support for BBC Children in Need I thought it was a good opportunity to finally do the thing I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t do and raise money. "The support from colleagues, friends and family has been fantastic. I’ve raised over £4,800 and with Gift Aid plus Matched Giving from the Lloyds Bank Foundation this comes to over £6,400. Pudsey himself came with us as the 9th crew member and he kept us both entertained but also a good reminder of why I was doing this. He engaged the crew who were a mix of nationalities and so we had to tell the story of BBC Children in Need . "To prepare for the rally, the crew all upped their personal fitness as well as undertaking a refresher on the Sea Survival Course. The rest is down to stamina and mental strength. Life at sea is very different to land. We work in 4 hour shifts in daylight hours and 3 hours at night-time. The maximum sleep I ever got was 2 hours and I always had one ear open in case I was needed rapidly on deck! "There were plenty of highs and lows. Sitting under a completely clear sky at night is like being inside your own personal planetarium, it is stunning as there is no light pollution at all. Conversely, on a cloud covered night, with no moon and with large Atlantic waves I found steering incredibly difficult, it is physically very hard and you have no way of seeing what the waves are about to do. In these situations you have to keep you nerve, work well as a watch team and try and feel as much as possible what the boat is about to do. All in all I am very proud to have successfully completed the crossing."