As the sun began to dip, crews from the ARC+ Saint Vincent fleet gathered at the beautiful beach-side Sunset Shores Hotel yesterday (Thursday 12 December), for what was to be a memorable evening, marking the end of this year’s rally to the Blue Lagoon Marina, in St.Vincent. It was a relaxed and rewarding evening, as crews and local guests from St.Vincent, mingled and recounted stories of their 2200 nautical mile passage from Cape Verde.
Leading the welcome to this yachting paradise of islands and cays for the newly arrived cruisers were Governor General, Her Excellency Mrs Susan Dougan and the Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Mrs Laverne Grant. Surround by exotic plants and palm trees with views of the Caribbean Sea, it was an idyllic location and a true reflection of why visitors come to St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Since arriving at Blue Lagoon Marina, crews have had a chance to relax and recover from their ocean crossing, enjoying a full programme including tours into the volcanic interior of the main island of St Vincent. But the evening was all about saying thank you, and recognising the achievements of each and every participant.
There were certificates for the young sailors, the children from yacht Cape Town, Lukas and Samuel; Wilhelm and Johannes from Oktant and Sarah and Stephen from the yacht Sarah. All were welcomed onto the stage to be congratulated on becoming Atlantic passage makers.
Within the fleet, there is a fun competition based on elapsed times, adjusted for relative boat performance and engine use. Scooping up the award for first place in the cruising monohulls class A, was the crew from Oyster 53 Spindrift
. Amel 55 Zarya, claimed Line Honours as the first boat to arrive this year and placing 3rd in the handicap competition, whilst 2nd place went to the Australian yacht Cuvee
– an Oceanis 51, also voted most beautiful yacht by the crews within the fleet. In class B, the smaller boats, it was Vorona
taking 3rd place, Caroline 2nd, and top spot in the group went to Arantelle
Keeping the conversation going at sea via the SSB radio net is an important, and enjoyable role for the volunteer radio net controllers. This year’s radio boats were Spindrift and Songster, their crews getting loud cheers as they were recognised for their efforts throughout the rally.
Other, fun, awards went to Sapphire of London, who managed to claim the greatest distance travelled, some 2335.6 miles, and to Caroline, who sailed the shortest recorded distance at 2119.4 - an excellent rhum line route.
The award for the Best Prepared yacht, chosen by the ARC Safety Equipment Inspectors in Las Palmas back in November, went to Cape Town
; not only were they extremely well prepared for their crossing, but with two youngsters under 4 years old on board, it was a fantastic effort from their parents Jan and Anna.
The double handed crews of Arantelle, Ngahue IV and Santa Esmeralda where also recognised for their achievements in sailing the entire route from Las Palmas to Mindelo in Cape Verde, almost 900NM, then a further 2200NM of open ocean, just two-up. A great effort.
As the warm tropical evening turned into tropical night, there was one last thank you, to the owner – Kelly Glass – and all his staff at Blue Lagoon Marina and Resort, who have pulled out all the stops to make it a fabulous arrival destination.
Thank you St. Vincent. We look forward to sailing to your tropical shores again next year.