Marina Mindelo is a site to be seen! With most of the ARC+ fleet now arrived into, São Vicente, there is a hive of activity and sense of achievement on the pontoons.
With a brisk start to Leg 1, the remainder of the journey was significantly calmer as the fleet headed south. During their time in Mindelo, participants have the opportunity to partake in a full programme of events organised by World Cruising Club.
Tonight saw the first of the social events, the Welcome hosted by Marina Mindelo. Attended by over 400 crew members, the evening was a spectacular display of sailors coming together to swap stories about their 900 NM crossing from Las Palmas to Mindelo.
Starting on the pontoon, drummers, Gai e Banda, lead a procession through the dock and on to the marina entrance where cocktails and nibbles (made with the local ‘grog’) were served.
Following a spectacular welcome from local dancers, Suzana Tetlow, ARC+ Event Manager, thanked the Marina and all the staff for their support over the last 7 years and particularly for all their hard work to prepare for the arrival of ARC+ and the continued success of the event which has grown year on year.
In response, Lutz Meyer-Scheel, CEO of Mindelo Marina, provided a warm welcome and after introducing his team he gave a brief explanation around the history of marina area. He continued with sincere thanks to everyone for their participation in the Rally and highlighted just how much their time here in Mindelo means to the local economy.
It was also a privilege to have Paulo Veiga, Secretary of State for Maritime Economy at the event who thanked Lutz and Marina Mindelo for hosting the evening. He explained activities like this greatly help the tourism and gave special thanks to the ARC+ for helping to develop other projects in the area which has a big impact on this island.
The Port Authority was represented by the President of Enapor, George Pimenta Mauricio, who also indicated the importance and difference the arrival of the ARC+ fleet makes to the people of Cape Verde and he wished everyone a pleasant stay. He also thanked the participants for choosing Mindelo and wished everyone a ‘nice sail to the Caribbean’.
Included in the ARC+ programme is a half-day guided tour of São Vicente. Participants have the chance to explore this magnificent island and view the spectacular sights from Monte Verde, some 747 metres high.
As an option, there is also a full-day tour to the neighbouring island, Santo Antão. This involves a 1 hour ferry ride to the port on Santo Antão which is the westernmost island of Cape Verde. With 779 km2 (301 sq miles), it is also the largest of the Barlavento Islands group, and the second largest island of Cape Verde. Participants experience a tour around this green paradise to sample its beauty, magnificent valleys and breath-taking views.
Both the tours and events allow the fleet a chance to learn more about the sights, culture and traditions of this unique archipelago.
Mindelo is considered the cultural capital of Cape Verde and with its backdrop of magnificent hills, abundance of seafood restaurants, colourful streets and vibrant people, the fleet is sure to find Cape Verde a thrilling and very welcoming stopover.