After an exciting week in Santa Marta, Colombia the World ARC fleet set off on Leg 2, to Porvenir in the San Blas islands – where they will undertake clearances into the overwhelmingly beautiful San Blas Islands. In stark contrast to such a dramatic windy arrival, only 8 knots blew across the fleet’s sails as the boats crossed the start line at midday today, 22nd January.
It was a close start, with the majority of boats crossing the line on starboard tack close to the island, beating up into the wind. Accompanied by tug boats Pino and Salvatore, the yellow shirts and yachts who deferred their departure gave a warm send off to the fleet as they embark on Leg 2.
During the past week, participants have enjoyed a lively schedule full of local tours and social evenings. Many participants took the opportunity to visit authentic villages in the mountains, go bird watching, visit coffee plantains as well as take a trip to see the beautiful historic nearby city of Cartagena.
Saturday saw the Welcome Function at the Banana café hosted by the Santa Marta Marina, accompanied by a beautiful sunset and a live saxophonist. Participants filled their boots with cuba libres, rum punch and local typical snacks and empanadas.
On Sunday the ever-popular Fundhemac visit to the local charitable organisation supporting local children from disadvantaged backgrounds in education – was thoroughly enjoyed by all the participants. We were treated to a performance of music, singing and dancing, followed by painting an ARC ship on a mural in the district. Participants were then helped by hillside indigenous villagers, the foundation’s children and their parents to make their own dream catchers. This activity is used symbolically to weave together the children’s dreams, with ours, to create a brighter future.
In the evening, paella and sangria flowed from the Banana café along with live piano entertainment from Domini’s skipper Julian, who wrote a brilliant song about the windy journey from the Caribbean and their stay in vibrant Santa Marta, aptly entitled the “Santa Marta Blues”.
On Monday evening the participants enjoyed catching up about their tours over a sundowner at Café Coco overlooking the marina.
Finally, drawing the stopover to a close, the Santa Marta Club hosted a sit down 3-course prize-giving dinner last night to send off the fleet. The crew’s January birthdays were given a special mention, with Amazing Grace celebrating their daughter’s 28th birthday by buying red wine for all the tables.
Ariel (Division 1 Cruising Class A), Maximilian (Division 1 Cruising Class B) and Libeccio (Multihull Division) took home first prize in their Divisions. The fun prizes were won by Island Wanderer, for guessing the closest ETA time for their yacht for Leg 1, just 2 hours 3 minutes and 48 seconds off. Marja II guessed exactly the right amount of participants that crossed the start line of Leg 1, at 123. Celtic Star won a local prize for being the first to dress their boat overall in Saint Lucia.
Everyone had a great night and it was a fitting glamorous send off for the next very different leg, to the more remote and rustic San Blas islands. The World ARC staff wish safe sails and happy sailing to the fleet as they set off from Colombia today. We look forward to meeting the boats again in Porvenir and Panama.