The World ARC fleet set off on the next leg of their journey today with mixed emotions. The fleet would have been disappointed to be leaving the idyllic setting and friendly locals of Cocos (Keeling) islands but they have ahead of them a great weather forecast to complete the second longest leg of the Rally and can also look forward to arriving in Port Louis, Mauritius which boasts all the amenities one would expect to find in a capital city.
But at daybreak this morning in Cocos (Keeling), the clouds were heavy and grey with little sunshine evident and very little wind. However, the skies cleared, the sun came out (a bit!) and the wind rose to about 15 knots in time for the 1000hrs start. Those on the committee vessel, kindly loaned from the Australian Federal Police post on Cocos (Keeling), were visited by several manta rays, gracefully patrolling underneath the boat at anchor. Such is the beauty of Cocos!
The first across at the pin end of the line was the Swedish yacht Working on a Dream but they were closely followed by GUNVOR XL, crossing in the middle. But this usual pair of competitive starters was quickly joined by Beatoo and Royal Leopard with 1+1 and Anastasia being the first catamarans across. The full complement of 22 World ARC yachts crossed the line today, which was the greatest number of all recent legs. Clearly the time spent at anchor has been well used to make sure every boat was ready to depart.
The forecast for the next leg is good, with steady 15-25 SE trade wind conditions, and yachts are expected to make good crossing times to Mauritius. The fleet will arrive into the Le Caudan Basin, Port Louis between 13 – 21 October.