Fourteen boats have now arrived in Grenada after their 2,200nm crossing from Mindelo, Cape Verde. The ARC Plus rally is starting to make its annual presence felt at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, with boats starting to dress overall and hoisting their rally flag - it’s a real spectacle. The full yellowshirt team is now in place and the dockside welcome continues as more and more boats cross the line and make their way into the marina.
Helping to give a warm welcome to crews arriving on the boats from around the world are students from the T.A. Marryshow Community College who are greeting every daytime arrival. They are making sure everyone receives their ‘goodie bag’ from the Grenada Tourism Authority, has a crew photo taken holding the ARC Plus 2022 banner, and is presented with the much-needed ice-cold rum punch courtesy of Port Louis Marina.
This morning, Mariana Veleva, sailing with her partner Hugh Johnson and four other crew on their Oyster 54, Nikitoo arrived at the finish. They have sailed in two previous ARCs in 2015 and 2018, as well as going into the Pacific with World ARC in 2019. “This is our third Atlantic crossing with World Cruising Club, but first time to Grenada. We are looking forward to seeing it. This crossing was totally different to our previous ones to Saint Lucia as we had very little wind then. This time the ocean movements were totally different. It was choppy and the winds were stronger, but we really enjoyed it. We ran white sails pretty much all the time and we didn’t break anything. Crossing the finish line we discovered that we are still talking to each other!” laughed Mariana dockside this morning.
Christiane Kraemer-Metz and Jean Metz who live in Switzerland were sailing their Amel 54 A Plus doublehanded. They have also previously sailed in the ARC in 2014 and in World ARC in 2015 and will join another World ARC starting in 2023. “We really like Grenada; it is a nice island and the people are very friendly,” said Christiane after enjoying their rum punches, followed by another welcome in daylight hours on the dock having arrived in the early hours of the morning. “It was a very rolly crossing and quite hard work with the boat rocking. We had some damage to sails and engine problems, but we averaged 7-8 knots in winds of between 15 and 20 knots, and sometimes 25 knots. We arrived in under 12 days, so we are pleased with that. We will stay in Grenada for two months and start World ARC in mid- January.”
A regular rallier with World Cruising Club is Paul Wade with his Hallberg-Rassy 48 Mk II Blonde Moment. He also arrived on Wednesday morning and was sailing with Becky Broudie and Laura Vaida, who was found through Ocean Crew link, he said: “We were having a bit of friendly rivalry with a boat identical to us; Nigel Southern’s Moon & Stars. They said to us, ‘we will beat you next time,’ after we got here before them,” he laughed. It’s great to have this welcome though and we are pleased to be here.”
Domien Masquillie was on board Mathias Staquet’s Amel Super Maramu 2000 Simoussi. Like the rest of the team, including skipper Fred Staquet, it was his first Atlantic crossing: "It was quite fun and easier than expected," he said. The swell was quite hard, but the wind was steady and we got moving fast. We had a real fast crossing too, which we didn’t expect. We started looking at the positions and saw we were second in class and thought 'oh, we are doing well'. Some boats like the Amel 54 A Plus were catching up and Charlotte av Skaerhamn; they are all bigger boats and so it was quite competitive in the end. Approaching Grenada, Domien said: “We started to see sight of the island and the wind dropped, so we motored our way in to get the rum punches before dark! There were five of us on board plus a little dog. It’s the first time for all of us and it’s been great."
"Mathias has owned Simoussi since 2004 and knows it very well. A Plus is also an Amel, but it is newer and faster than us. Jean spoke to us on the VHF and said: 'I’m glad I could finally talk to you. I don’t know how you are doing it, but you are going really fast. I’ve never seen speeds like that anywhere.' A couple of us are racing sailors and the others are all cruisers, but we got the hang of it once we learnt about the boat and we managed average speeds, the first few days of 8.3-8.5 knots. We are really glad to be in Grenada. The weather is great.”
Two family boats (Alexandra and Pacific Pearl) have now arrived, much to the delight of the young children on board. Evie (8), Harry (6) and Rosie Warwick (4) sailing with their parents Amy and Simon couldn’t wait to jump on the dock after finishing at 0200, local time in Grenada. “It was great but I am so glad to get here. We haven’t seen any dolphins or whales, but we had a few flying fish land in our cockpit,” she said. “I had a bit of seasickness but I enjoyed it anyway. It was our first 11 day crossing. The longest we’ve ever done..”
Brother Harry said: “We were up all night just waiting to get to Grenada. We couldn’t wait. We run up and down the dock a bit and were looking forward to seeing our friends on Alexandra. Arriving in Grenada was the best bit. We live in Alberta Canada and almost every day we have snow. It’s very hot here!”
Mother Amy said: “The goal was just to get to Grenada and complete the ARC. All of a sudden we are here and it’s a big achievement for us as a family. It’s a lot to do this with the kids. The ARC has been amazing and it’s been a really cool thing to do, with all the parties and the other boats taking part. It’s a real feeling of camaraderie."
More news to follow as boats continue to finish in the wonderful spice island of Grenada.