The finish line in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, has seen a vast number of ARC participants cross it’s path over the last 32 years, each completing the voyage of a lifetime, and arriving in the Caribbean knowing that they had achieved something amazing. The traditional ARC arrival runs through December, however for the first time the line was laid ready to receive a new years wave of arrivals, with the first edition of ARC January reaching Saint Lucia's shores.
Sailing a route of 3,009 NM from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria over a period of 15 days, 14 hours, 01 minute and 20 seconds, it was an experienced crew of 4 from Croatia on Mowgli, an Akilaria 40, who took line honours in the newest Atlantic rally in the World Cruising Club schedule. Crossing the finish line at 23:01 local time on Monday 24 January, skipper Slaven Fischer was delighted to be leading the first ARC January fleet into Saint Lucia.
Their arrival was not without a small amount of excitement, when crossing the finish line and preparing to drop their sails, they discovered they had lost their propeller! Thankfully the World Cruising Club team of Yellow Shirts were on standby to receive them and a tow from the local water taxi was arranged, bringing them dockside within the hour.
With many keen sailors’ eyes on the weather, it has proven to be a slower crossing than expected for all the various Atlantic rallies taking place at this time of year. The next couple of boats, Open 50 Styliana and Neel 51 Volare are still some 300 plus miles from crossing the finish line in Rodney Bay and are expected to make landfall on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
Experiencing his first Atlantic crossing, Slaven had hoped to enjoy traditional Atlantic rollers but said, “The weather was strange and I really thought it would be more stable. We experienced up to 32kts of wind changes within minutes at times, with every cloud bringing its own microclimate.”
Taking a more northerly route, Slaven commented they made a simple decision early on. “We came here to enjoy some good downwind sailing, staying on the rhumb line was not going to give us enough wind and going south would have taken us to close to Africa so we decided on a northerly route.”
Despite being a new rally, traditional welcomes are maintained and the crew on Mowgli were greeted by the smiling Yellow Shirt team who presented Slaven and his cheerful crew with goodies provided by the Events Company Saint Lucia - a basket full of fresh local fruits, spices and a bottle of the island’s famous Chairman’s rum. Not forgetting the famous rum punch, the crew toasted one another and to their crossing and celebrated in Lucian style.
The incoming fleet of just over 40 yachts and 250 crew can look forward to an exciting programme of events to welcome everyone and provide a flavour of what the island of Saint Lucia has to offer. Local food markets, gift stalls, sunset welcomes, and costume themed nights, plus demonstrations from Lucian Chefs and mixologists make up just some of the colourful events organised for the ARC January participants.
Congratulations to Mowgli and her crew for completing their Atlantic crossing and being the first arrival in 2022!
Click here to follow the fleet on a web browser or download the YB Races app on a mobile device.