There was great excitement as participants of World ARC 2019-20 met up again as one group at the dinner and prize giving for Leg 5 at the Mango Bar & Grill. The evening began with a rum punch reception where the local brass band performed a lively set of contemporary tunes.
The World ARC fleet were honoured to receive and welcome the Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga Honourable Semisi Sik, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Lord Tuilakepa and Minister of Health, Honourable Dr Saia Piukala. After a formal welcome guests were treated to an extensive buffet made up of local and western dishes.
The evening’s entertainment continued with dancing by a locally known dance troupe who have recently travelled around Europe representing Tonga. With their colourful costumes they entertained the crowd with energetic moves and enthusiastic calls. Following their set, a number of World ARC participants were encouraged to join them on the dance floor for more energetic moves!
Then the all-important and much awaited prize giving took place. The Prime Minister kindly presented the awards to the winners. To great cheers and applauds, the winners were announced for Leg 5.
The winner of Group 1 Monohull went to SKY. The winner of Group 2 Monohull was Tintin. The Multihull division for Group 1 was won by RAID and the winner for Group 2 was Peikea.
In traditional fashion the yellow shirts decided to include some alternative awards. These were; first over the start line in Bora Bora for Group 1 which was won by family boat Charm. First over the start line for group 2 was Resolute II. The other award was given to EQ2 who sailed the least miles over the entire leg.
The ETA competition was won by Niobe who amazingly finished over the line just 1 hour, 8 minutes and 5 seconds after their predicted eta.
The fun competition question for this leg was; what is the width of all the fleet on Leg 5 if rafted together without fenders. The nearest result was won by Manihi who calculated a sum incredibly close to the correct width listing their answer just 1 meter and 34cm from the actual figure which was, 153 meters and 34cm.
World Cruising Club thanked the authorities and Mango Bar & Grill for their support during the World ARC stopover in Vava’u. Sadly a few boats will be departing the Rally in Fiji before the rendezvous in Musket Cove so plaques were awarded to RAID, Cassiopee W, Makara of Exe, Mango and Nica. Each skipper said a few words of thanks with clear indication that the World ARC has exceeded their expectations in so many ways. It is an emotional time for such strong bonds to separate however we all know the sailing fraternity is really quite a small and bow waves are sure to cross again for many of the fleet.
For many the evening went on late into the night…
The programme over the next few days includes the skippers brief for the fleet’s arrival in Fiji, check-out process from Tonga and refuelling before the crossing of approximately 300nm to the Lau Group.