The World ARC fleet got underway today to the next port on their trip of a lifetime, when they left Efate island in Vanuatu. There were pleasant conditions for the midday start in Port Vila Bay, following a morning of no wind whatsoever. The light easterly winds that did arrive encouraged a few spinnakers and asymmetric to be flown across the start line, making a colourful sight as the fleet headed west to sail north of New Caledonia and then onto Mackay, Australia.
The first yacht across the start line was the X-55 yacht GUNVOR XL, flying their white spinnaker with its red hibicus motif. Next was the Swedish flagged Jeanneau Working on a Dream flying white sails only and then Beatoo who opened their cruising chute, shortly after crossing the line. Southern Cross and Zoe also had a competitive start crossing the line with less than 10 metres between the toe rails.
The course directs the boats to a waypoint north of New Caledonia to keep clear of the reef D’Entrecasgeuz and then onto the finish line which is at the entrance to the Hydrographers Passage. This is a big shipping lane which provide a safe way through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to make landfall in Mackay.
The committee boat Kaleva was kindly provided by Brian and Sam Bell, who are members of the Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club and also out on the water was Brian Stoneham of Yachting World Vanuatu which was where the fleet was based for their brief stop in Port Vila. Thanks to everyone involved and bon voyage to the World ARC fleet!