World Cruising Club has announced today (29 June 2021) that the 2022 edition of the World ARC round-the-world sailing rally, scheduled to start from Saint Lucia in January 2022 has been cancelled. The next planned start will now be in January 2023.
Whilst there has been optimism during 2021 that the global pandemic may be receding, World ARC is a complex international event which takes the organisers, host ports and tourism authorities’ months of planning to deliver successfully, and detailed consideration has been given to the feasibility of a start in January 2022. However, on-going uncertainty about COVID infection levels, the emergence of variants, vaccination take-up, international travel and quarantine restrictions that are set to continue, even for vaccinated travellers for countries on the World ARC route unfortunately make an organised circumnavigation on a planned schedule hard to achieve. Nor would the rally provide the incredible experience normally delivered for the World ARC participants.
Regular consultation has been taking place during this spring between World Cruising Club and the participants that had signed up to start with the rally, a sell-out event showing there is strong demand to sail the world as part of a supported circumnavigation. World ARC has helped hundreds of sailors achieve their dream to sail around the world with expert organisation, reviewed as ‘a trip of a lifetime’, however the landscape created by the pandemic threatens the rally stopover programme to truly embrace the amazing locations visited. Unforeseen and often last-minute changes to regulations and protocols in different destinations would significantly impact the rally schedule, and the stopover experience likely to be severely limited in comparison to previous editions of World ARC.
Responsible sailors would rightly be hesitant to leave port with an extended unfavourable forecast, and as it stands there is no clear pathway on exactly how the borders will be opened to whom, under what conditions and over what time frame. World Cruising Club committed to providing a decision on the feasibility of the rally by the end of June to provide participants with time to position boats, arrange crew, and organise their personal and domestic lives.
With a core of participants mindful of the likely continuing restrictions, World Cruising Club will be actively considering an option for intrepid sailors still keen to reach Pacific to transit the Panama Canal later in 2022. An announcement about this route will be made during November and is dependent on conditions improving sufficiently that it is considered prudent to transit the Panama Canal in early March. The offering would be a simple rally to support participants into the Pacific to start an independent circumnavigation.
The decision and announcement regarding World ARC in no way affects the planned departures of the transatlantic rallies ARC+, ARC and ARC January which are confirmed to depart Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as planned.