In an emotional evening focusing on the achievements of the crews taking part in the 37 edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), the traditional ARC prizegiving party on Saturday 17th December marked the end of the transatlantic sailing rally for another year. Held at the Beausejour Indoor Facility, the evening provided a rousing conclusion to the annual ARC, and a chance to recognise the achievements of the fastest and slowest, the oldest and youngest, and the couples and families that are so much a part of this classic sailing rally. It was an evening of celebration and a chance to cheer on friends and family members in the spirit of the ARC, one of camaraderie and adventure, which makes each one of over 800 ARC sailors a winner, not just those on stage to receive awards.
ARC Event Manager, Andrew Pickersgill led proceedings for the evening, welcoming almost 120 crews on stage to receive awards. The biggest cheers came for crews who were recognised for their achievements and contributions to the overall rally atmosphere - crews of the boats which diverted to assist other yachts were all thanked, and there was a special mention for Robert Falck, who switched boats to help the crew of Take Off. Other presentations included the first Double-handed crew on corrected time (Wilhelm & Nicole - Bluewater Mooney), Senior Skipper (John Marett aged 80, of Chantoosie) and Family Boat awards including Best Family Performance on corrected time, to Oskari on Toucan. Many other fun prized were award for Best Logs, the Fishing Competition and recognition for the Radio Net Controllers and Finish Line volunteers. A rousing cheer was given to the 10 ARC yachts still yet to arrive in Saint Lucia after delaying their departure or returning to land following the start after encountering boat problems. The volume of the applause as their names were read out may well have been heard out in the Atlantic!
Awards were also presented for line honours and class winners including: Paradox (1A), Impuls (1B), Vahine (1C), Sunbeat VI (1D and overall 1), Montana (1E), Escapado (2A), Malolo (4A and overall) and Aphrodite 1, (4B). Click here for the full results
The ARC’s presence in Saint Lucia has been firmly felt around the Caribbean island and the prize giving ceremony also gave the opportunity to thank the many local supporters who have helped provided an exceptional welcome to participants. IGY Rodney Bay Marina General Manager Sean Deveaux and Loraine Sidonie for Events Company Saint Lucia both spoke, and Lorine Charles St-Jules chair of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority gave an enthusiastic speech to acknowledge that the crews will forever be welcome to enjoy the many delights of Saint Lucia and encouraged them to return.
In an emotional end to the evening, retiring World Cruising Club Manging Director Andrew Bishop, spoke about the strong bond between the ARC and Saint Lucia, forged over 33 years of the island offering a Caribbean home to the finish of the ARC. For Andrew, who has been involved with organising the ARC since 1990, this was his final ARC, and he received a standing ovation from the assembled ARC crews, to bid him farewell.
The Spirit of the ARC award was, as usual, saved for last. Each year it is awarded to the yacht or individual that best displays the spirit of camaraderie that the rally creates amongst the fleet. For ARC 2022, award was given to the crew of sy Aphrodite 1, recognising their selfless actions to help the crew of Take Off immediately following their dismasting; crossing over to Take Off in dangerous swells to provide urgent medical attention, help clear the damaged rig, donate fuel, and then sail alongside them during the night. The assembled ARC crews rose to their feet and gave the second ovation of the evening to the Aphrodite crew.
With the last prize presented, the 2022 edition of the ARC was formally brought to a close, and the bars were opened. The rally this year has been one of great rewards for overcoming the weather and navigational challenges encountered along the way; unique friendships have been formed, special memories have been made and the ocean sailors of ARC 2022 can all feel proud of their achievements to reach the shores of Saint Lucia.