World ARC 2010/11 formally came to a close last night with a prizegiving dinner at the Royal Saint Lucian hotel in Rodney Bay. Rally crews and their guests sat down to a wonderful dinner before crews were called up in turn to receive gifts and prizes to mark their tremendous achievements during World ARC.
As the crews gathered for welcome drinks they were superbly entertained by a local Saint Lucian steel pan band which ensured a lively start to this evening of celebration. The food was excellent and it was also great to be joined by local supporters of World ARC, who had contributed to the event in Saint Lucia, during it's departure and return.
To begin the prizegiving, the crews were welcomed back to Saint Lucia by Senator The Honourable Alan Chastanet, Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation in Saint Lucia, who outlined how important yachting was to Saint Lucia and how pleased he was to see World ARC's return to the country’s shores. Following on from this welcome, World ARC Event Manager, Paul Tetlow, began the presentation of awards to each boat, including anedotes and memories of each crew’s journey during the last 15 months. Each crew received a plaque to acknowledge their participation, certificates to mark their achievements and a bottle of Chairman’s Reserve rum. The crews also received a mystery prize.
The last crew to receive their prizes was that of Eowyn, a Hallberg Rassy 40, skippered by Graham Payne and crewed by Mike Birch and on the recent legs, Bob Glassman. They had been invited up last for a special reason and that was they were also awarded the Spirit of World ARC Award in recognition of their actions to support other Rally boats who found themselves in difficulty whilst at sea. Eowyn was pivotal in the safe conclusion to incidents involving Bristol Rose, on Leg 3 of the Rally and Basia on the last leg. Graham demonstrated superb communication and leadership skills throughout both incidents, and with the help of his crew and other boats, contributed to the safe outcome of these events. Well done Eowyn!
The crews then opened their mystery prize – a photobook of 400 pictures put together to tell the story of the places and crews of World ARC 2010/11
Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club then thanked the Saint Lucia Tourist Board for supporting the event and all the other contributors to of World ARC. Having thanked his team for helping to deliver the event, Andrew concluded by thanking and congratulating the most important people of World ARC – the crews. They have ‘sailed the course and subsequently joined the unique club of circumnavigators.’ Their 'achievement is one which most sailors can only dream of’
The yachts will disperse to continue their cruising and passage making. Meanwhile, 30 plus skippers and crews continue with their preparations to leave Saint Lucia in January, 2012 with the next event, World ARC 2012/13