The World ARC fleet restarted from Recife, Brazil this morning, at 0900 local time, on the last competitive leg of their circumnavigation. This next leg, from Recife to Grenada, will see the boats cross back into the northern hemisphere and eventually revisit Caribbean waters. And for many of the crews, this will bring them one step closer to returning to the starting port of the Rally in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.
It was an early start for almost all of the fleet in order to leave the Cabanga Yacht Club near high water and on a rising tide. Many of the crews dropped anchor or picked up a mooring again at the Pernambuco Yacht Club for an hour or two to have breakfast before venturing out to the starting area. However, the 4 catamarans in the fleet could take their whole preparations more restfully (!) as their departure time was not restricted by their draughts.
The start line was laid at the entrance to the port of Recife with the help of staff from the Cabanga Yacht Club. The start conditions were ideal with 10 – 15 knot winds from the east, making it a nice starboard reach for the boats as they crossed the start line. First across at the windward end of the line was the Shipman 63, Grand Filou 2, skippered by Richie Fearnon. The two Sundeer 60 yachts, Ocean Jasper and Crazy Horse crossed next in close succession and at close quarters, followed by Tzigane, sailed by John and Jenny Greenwood. However, all the boats made for an impression sight as the powered north in good winds and the bright morning sunshine.
The leg to Grenada is approximately 2100 nautical miles. The boats are expected to follow the northern coast of South America but maintain a distance offshore to catch the favourable current and avoid local fishing activity and debris discharging from the Amazon. During the leg, the boats will once again cross the equator which may be cause for some celebration (?)!
The World ARC stopover in Recife has been fun. All the crew members visited Carnival in Recife and Olinda and were really pleased to have done so. The welcome, the staff and the shoreside facilities at the Cabanga Yacht Club were terrific. The stopover was also supported by EMPTUR, the Pernambuco tourist organisation, and the fleet were very grateful for its generosity and welcome gifts.
The boats are expected to arrive in Grenada between 20-27 March.