The 2023-2024 World ARC fleet had a fantastic start today, with a gentle 15-18 knot breeze pushing them over the line in glorious sunshine.
This is the second leg of the Rally, with the fleet sailing from Santa Marta, Colombia to Shelter Bay, Panama via the San Blas Islands. The first boats are expected to arrive into San Blas on Friday 20th January, and then into Shelter Bay Marina from the 25th January.
The extraordinarily long start line between Marina Santa Marta and the Isla El Morro afforded the fleet plenty of space to manoeuvre into some stronger breeze as they approached the line, and they got off to a cracking start in some great conditions, mostly hitting the line on a beam reach. It was quite a spectacle to behold.
The line was clear at the start, then first across the line was Outremer 51 Leviathan, skippered by Eric Devaney. Soon after them followed Mistral of Portsmouth, an Oyster 56 (skippered by Chris Parker) and Pachamama, a Lagoon 620 skippered by Juan Nacarato. The rest of the fleet came seconds later, snapping at the leader’s heels.
The fleet passed the Punta de Gaira headland and headed off towards Punta Faro, before turning WSW towards the stunning San Blas Islands, next on their list to explore. Following that, they will head to Shelter Bay, Panama, to transit the canal on their circumnavigation.
Approximately 100 crew have spent the last six days in Santa Marta, the first stop on their circumnavigation, with many boats welcoming new crew aboard before they transit the Panama Canal. Those spending time ashore enjoyed interesting tours, evening events, delicious food, and a vibrant culture and nightlife.