Sixteen days after their departure from the Cape Verdes, the Caribbean destinations for ARC+ in Saint Lucia and St. Vincent have seen dockside celebrations a plenty as the crews have made landfall. On Saturday 7 December, both fleets were officially welcomed with organised cocktail parties, a chance to enjoy a drink or two and compare tales from the crossing.
At Blue Lagoon Hotel and Marina in St. Vincent, 16 boats had made landfall and crews assembled at the Hotel poolside for complimentary drinks and an amazing spread amazing spread of local foods. A local live band jammed away and crews exchanged stories from the crossing as cocktails were sipped. From fishing triumphs, to the ones that got away, sail tears and repairs to all out blowouts, freshly baked daily bread and Thanksgiving dinners, it’s been great to hear how much crews have enjoyed their time out on the ocean waves.
Blue Lagoon’s Marina Owner Kelly Glass gave a welcome speech to all congratulating our ocean sailors on their achievements. He and his team then stayed for the evening, mingling to share in the stories and do what the Vincy’s do best – party! With the tunes continuing into the night, and customary (rather strong) rum punch flowing, it was a great celebration.
Meanwhile in Saint Lucia, the fleet was almost complete in Rodney Bay in time for the Saint Lucia Tourist Authority Welcome Cocktail for ARC+. Hosted by The Saint Lucia Tourist Authority and the Events Company of St Lucia, ARC+ participants gathered beside the stunning poolside of the new Harbor Club Hotel for drinks and dancing, toasting to a successful crossing. The serene IGY Rodney Bay Marina provided a great backdrop as John Emmanuel from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority addressed the crews, then the Hotel Manager from the Harbor Club welcomed them and encouraged the ocean crossers to relax and enjoy the evening. The poolside pizza bar was kept busy, and it wasn’t long before crews of all ages took to the dancefloor to boogie away to the DJ’s beats.
With the night of partying over, Sunday has seen crews on both islands get out of the marinas and explore the flora and fauna of the Caribbean. In St. Vincent, 6 of our intrepid explorers set off on a leeward tour of the island guided by Fraser Taxi services. Visiting Fort Charlotte, the fishing towns of Layou and Barrouallie, with a stop off at the stage setting for The Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And the opportunity for a refreshing swim at Dark View Waterfalls. The driver Lewis arrived with a fantastic smile and greeted everyone in such a friendly way we know they are all going to have a simply perfect day.
In Rodney Bay, Magdalena from the SLTA has been kept busy arranging activities from zip-lining to kite surfing and Peta’s legendary familiarisation tour has been a daily sell out to see some of the area around the north of Saint Lucia.
As the yachts all settle into Caribbean life style code flags are being hoisted, and the local marine workers are energetically washing down the boats and giving them a good sparkle. Even on Sundays the guys are forever busy singing as they lovingly polish and shine at Blue Lagoon, and the Suds’ laundry has their golf cart in constant rotation around Rodney Bay. It’s great to see the fleet looking so good after the crossing.
Equally busy are the specialists on hand to assist participants with any problems where 3000nm of ocean sailing may have taken its toll on the boats or equipment. Jon, Katie and the team from SVG Yacht Services introduced themselves yesterday at Blue Lagoon and are providing a great service to all that require them. IGY Rodney Bay Marina has a wealth of local specialists from electronics to sail repair on the doorstep too.
By the end of Monday, the ARC+ fleet should be complete in the Caribbean with just three boats counting down the final miles to the rum punch welcome. There’s plenty more in store this week before the final celebratory Prizegivings marking their great ocean crossing achievements.