“ARC Finish Line…ARC Finish Line… this is yacht Take Off at 2 miles” is the call as the VHF radio crackles into life. For ARC boats arriving into Rodney Bay, this is the start of the arrivals process, alerting the finish line boat and the shoreside yellow shirt team to another imminent arrival. Since Malolo, the first arrival on 1st December, the finish line team have welcomed 45 boats, taking their finish time and directing them into Rodney Bay Lagoon towards their dock, completing their ARC journey.
However, one of this morning’s calls was more eagerly awaited than all the others, as the crew of Take Off announced their final approach. Having suffered a total rig failure 10 days ago, over 1,300NM out from Saint Lucia, the second half of their Atlantic crossing has been challenging. A relay of ARC boats, co-ordinated by ARC Rally Control, has kept Take Off topped-up with precious fuel as they have motored onwards to Saint Lucia.
It was an emotional welcome for the crew of Take Off as they entered the lagoon this morning and friends from amongst the ARC crews gathered to greet them. Alchemy, the only motorboat in this year’s ARC, gave a mighty blast from their boat’s horn, loud enough to wake any crew having a lay-in after last night’s Welcome Party. Tears of joy and relief, hugs and kisses all round as the crew were finally able to step ashore safely. Rum punches for the adults and, best of all, ice-cream for the kids Alex and Ines, courtesy of their friends on Toucan, their neighbours from the Las Palmas dockside.
Not wishing to miss-out, friends and family of Take Off, back home Sweden and elsewhere were able to watch their arrival – click here to watch again.
As of this evening, there are now 45 boats arrived in Rodney Bay, with a further 92 still at sea. A fickle weather pattern has caused the Atlantic trade winds to fade away giving a frustrating second half of the crossing to the smaller boats. Without the motoring range needed, most boats are having to drift through the calms, hoping for better winds. Longer range forecasts are showing trade winds filling in again from this weekend (11/12 Dec) which will give a boost to the boats right at the back of the fleet. Those closer to Saint Lucia are now picking up NW winds, which whilst not a perfect angle, do at least allow them to sail. Nothing boosts morale quite like the moment the winds start to blow and the sails start to drive the boat again.
There are some side benefits to the struggle with the wind over recent days, as Tim from Salamander explains in his blog “With these strange weather conditions we are enjoying beautiful sunrises with striking colours and we also had a beautiful moon set this morning just before sunrise. It wasn't a full moon but very close to it. Absolutely stunning!”.
Each sunset and sunrise brings them a little closer to making their own radio call “ARC Finish line… this is….”