The World ARC fleet 2020/21 hoisted their sails this morning, Wednesday 4 March, and crossed the start line for Leg 4 heading out to the vast Pacific blue. Under rare cloudy and drizzly weather conditions in Academy Bay this gentle start saw 30 boats leaving Galapagos for the Marquesas.
With light conditions the fleet were tightly bunched together which made for an exciting start line however, it was Matt on Influencer who crossed first but only just, inches behind were Saorsa, Ariel, Skyelark and Sapphire.
The forecast for this leg begins with light winds for the next couple of days but with a favourable and following current, plus usual trade winds ahead, the fleet should expect good winds on the beam during the 2980 nautical mile crossing.
The fleet are estimated to begin arriving from the 21st - 29th March - the start of European Spring time - breeze (and engine hours) depending - where they will cross the scenic finish line and come in to anchor in the breathtakingly beautiful islands of the Marquesas, French Polynesia.
Destined to be at least an 18 day trip this is the longest crossing during their circumnavigation and over sundowners at the Hernan Café this week, the fleet have been discussing what they do to pass the time and keep themselves entertained on board.
Crew on Accomplice explained how they were hoping to spend the time learning Spanish from their downloaded but as yet, untouched, App during the time offshore, and use the opportunity to do some workouts on board, and eat a little healthier.
Grace on Amari shared with us how her, and her parents Will and Dottie use workouts to keep their mind and body activity during night watches in the dark. “It’s great to have some space in the cockpit for a change,” and they even have resistance bands for their night time activity sessions. Grace is “very excited to do more sailing, as the recent leg was very calm so they motored more than expected.” The quiet and the opportunity to read a good book, listen to a podcast and update her port to port journal of the trip so far will be very welcomed, after such an exciting and sociable few stopovers. It’s “a great time to get at one with yourself”. Dottie was also looking forward to getting back to being offshore, and relaxing as a family. She added that the provisioning has been trickier than usual at this stop, with not many meat products to purchase on the islands, and the strict regulations on what could be brought in.
Deo Juvante are also excited about the trip ahead, 8 year old Mazarine clad in new Galapagos clothing is “most looking forward to seeing dolphins and turtles”, but, not surprisingly, less looking forward to their on board morning teaching. When asked if she was feeling nervous about not seeing land for so long, she commented “mmmm not too scared”. She certainly is one cool Belgian cookie.
Domini were looking forward to relaxing offshore after a lovely busy family trip with their children flying out to join them in the Galapagos Islands. They have found plenty of lovely fruit and vegetables, and will enjoy preparing different meals to eat and enjoy on the trip.
Ngahue are hoping to find good winds and currents, and to not use the engine too much.
The fleet will be keeping in touch via SSB radio net during the passage, with volunteer yachts Deo Juvante, Sapphire II of London, Saorsa, Island Wanderer, Celtic Star, Tri II Fly, Domini, Accomplice, Remedy, Amari and Starling on rotation to run the net each day.
The yellow shirts will be on hand to welcome and guide the fleet as they arrive into Hiva Oa. By April, participants will be trying their hand onshore at the French language to find currency (Polynesian francs) sim cards, fuel, water (de l’eau) and groceries. Discovering new cultures, exploring dramatic islands and experiencing local foods and traditions, the World ARC team look forward to welcoming the fleet to the extraordinary beauty of the French Polynesia.