With the success of the 2020 ARC and ARC+ reaching Saint Lucia’s shores and the determination of both World Cruising Club and participants, it is with great excitement that World ARC 2021-2022 has managed to come together. The rally, the 11th edition of a round the world event organized by World Cruising Club, will look very different as the grip of the pandemic continues, but the format has been adapted to the new reality of ever-changing protocols, masks and social distancing, quarantine and testing and will support the crews setting out on their cruising adventures. As expected the number of boats entered is vastly reduced this year but those taking part are just as passionate about the journey and keen to pursue their explorations with open-minds and understanding of the challenges ahead.
The route begins in Saint Lucia and this year the first stopover will be Shelter Bay Marina on the Caribbean side of Panama. Once the fleet are checked-in it is hoped that there will be the opportunity to explore the autonomous San Blas archipelago which is made up of approximately 365 islands and inhabited by the Kuna Indians. For many in the fleet this will be the first experience of remote island living and is a real highlight of the World ARC route hailed as their first taste of paradise.
At the end of January, the World ARC fleet will transit the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Following a detailed briefing, provision of lines and giant fenders and receiving an adviser on board, a typical transit will begin with a departure from Shelter Bay Marina early in the morning for the daily transits with two sets of locks to pass through and a passage across the beautiful tree lined Gatun Lake. The total journey takes around 24-hours which includes an overnight stay (and a well-earned sleep) rafted together on the Lake.
Once through the Panama Canal, the Pacific adventures truly begin with the first stop in Galapagos to explore the famed flora and fauna. Then, at the end of the longest ocean leg of the circumnavigation of 2980nm, the stunning islands of French Polynesia await. Continuing westward the route includes the legendary Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu before arriving in eastern Australia. Throughout the latter period of the first half many boats rejoin from previous World ARCs who have ‘hopped off’ the rally to explore New Zealand or more of Australia. The second half includes, Indonesia, Africa and South America returning back to the Caribbean some 15-months after the start this weekend.
World ARC 2021-2022 includes crew from all corners of the world; Argentina, Brazil, American, U.K. France, Netherlands and Peru. Crew member, Bruno Barbosa has left his home town of Belo Horizonte in central Brazil. Having completed ARC Europe in 2018 he has returned to British flagged boat Jubilate Mare and is on the crew manifest for the entire circumnavigation. Originally working in graphic design, Bruno has given up his job to follow his dream of sailing around the world. With no sailing experience before he took part in ARC Europe he has since completed an Olympic dinghy sailing course in Brazil. On asking him how he is feeling about his forthcoming journey he said “it’s just like a dream and I am feeling very lucky with this opportunity and very very happy to be taking part in the World Rally.”
Without doubt challenges for both organizers and skippers lie ahead but with the support and experience of the World Cruising Club and the enthusiasm of the local people in every stopover, enormous efforts are in place to ensure every participant experiences their world adventures to the full.
This is a once in a lifetime adventure for many of the crew and we welcome and congratulate the boats for the start of their circumnavigation.