Since Saturday the World ARC Pacific has been a complete fleet in the Galapagos, however, it hasn't been plain sailing for all the fleet. A few boats experienced technical difficulties ahead of leaving La Playita Marina in Panama, with Kaimin and Into the Mystic putting up a valiant effort to reach the Galapagos. Further challenges were experienced by Jadamama who needed to return to Panama to fix a deck fitting – thankfully in good speed they caught up to the fleet with all problems solved!
Today with the sun shining high in the sky over Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, yachts of the World ARC Pacific fleet set off on their biggest challenge yet, the 2980 nautical mile journey across the Pacific Ocean from the Galapagos Islands to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. This will be the longest leg of their trip from St Lucia in the Caribbean to Mackay in Australia.
At 13.30 local time, the fleet of 28 boats crossed the start line between the port and Isla Camano and sailed south west, south of Isabela and past the dramatic crescent shaped volcano of Isla Tortuga, once again into the Pacific. There was a gentle easterly breeze pushing the yachts over the line, with the keenest sailors in the fleet seeking out the zephyrs of wind blowing across the course, and the less patient motoring to find it.
First across the line was Jadamama, a Nautitech 46 Open, followed by A Plus 2 one of two Amel 54's on the rally and then Into the Mystic, a Discovery 50. It was a great start with the majority of the rest of the fleet following across the line in quick succession and the boats heading out together into the Pacific. Once clear of the ITCZ the fleet hope to experience excellent trade wind, blue water sailing. With many crews just double handing the adventure, it is a reminder for those at home that whilst this is of course the trip of a lifetime - it is far from a holiday!
And so, the fleet waved goodbye to the land of marine iguanas, giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies and inquisitive sealions. The trip will take between three to four weeks, depending on the number of engine hours used, and our crews will find themselves at their first stop of French Polynesia, Hiva Oa. This island is the second largest in the Marquesas Archipelago, and is the land of volcanic mountains, ridges, deep, isolated valleys and endemic ferns. Whilst the fleet will be very eager to arrive and explore the stunning scenery of the Marquesas islands they are also sure to enjoy being back sailing and adapting to a few weeks of a slower paced life at sea after the excitement of the time spent in the Galapagos Islands and all they had to offer.
Whilst the Galapagos is one of the best kept ecosystems on earth, it of course attracts a multitude of tourists. This makes main towns developed with a vast variety of amenities in abundance, be that restaurants, provisioning markets and general infrastructure. Looking at what is to come, the deserted and sunny shore of remote French Polynesia will bring both blissful joy but also challenges. The bonds created amongst the fleet until now will pay dividends going forward and are sure to create memories of a lifetime.
Whilst some of the Yellow Shirt team that have been with the fleet from Saint Lucia to the Galapagos might be changing, there is sure to be no change in the wind for the momentum which the World ARC Pacific Fleet carry – fair winds to all and a fantastic trip Into the Pacific! The team will be watching your adventure take shape and look forward to seeing you on the other side.