Saturday 15th April was the final day of the second half of World ARC 2022-23, a unique edition of World Cruising Club’s rally in that on this occasion there was no annual “first half” of the round the world rally due to Covid. A stalwart group of participants came together in a smaller than usual group in Darwin, Australia in September last year for the passage across the southern Indian and Atlantic oceans and on to Saint Lucia, reigniting the rally spirit and re-starting their cruise in company with the support of WCC. Over the past eight months, covering some 12,000nm, this group has been bonded with many shared memories, magical moments and unique experiences, all the hallmarks of an unforgettable rally and formed friendships for life.
Yesterday marked the end of their time with World ARC 2022-23 in what was described by Avryl Broadbridge, Island Wanderer, as “the perfect way to remember the rally,” or by another as, “a fitting end to what has been an amazing rally.”
After two weeks of cruising the southern Caribbean from Grenada, the seven yachts finishing what had become known as World ARC 2019-23 had gathered at Marigot Bay Yacht Haven to re-group before a Parade of Sail northwards. The yachts formed up in line astern in reverse order of length overall with Celtic Star heading the column as they made passage along the coast, including a circuit of Castries Harbour, to cross the finish line in Rodney Bay, marking the end of their circumnavigations started with World ARC’s 2019, 2020 and 2021!
For Ko Tangaroa and Nakula, who had started their circumnavigations with World ARC in 2022 from Darwin and Lombok respectively, Saint Lucia marks the halfway point and each plans to complete their World ARC adventures restarting in 2025 or 2026 after time exploring Europe and the Mediterranean.
Andrew Bishop, recently retired from World Cruising Club, orchestrated the spectacle from onboard Celtic Star, and commented “Having started these participants on their journeys around the world I was keen to see them complete it and so be here to personally congratulate them on their achievements. After the longer than planned time away, there was lots of emotion as the participants came to the end of their time with World ARC. It was a very special experience to be here with them.”
Having crossed the line, the yachts made their way into IGY Rodney Bay Marina to the sound of local steel pan on the docks as they berthed followed by a rum-punch reception where they were officially welcomed by the Marina Manager, Sean Deveaux.
Later in the day a prizegiving dinner was held at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort restaurant hosted by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and Events Company Saint Lucia. The setting on the beach overlooking Rodney Bay where this adventure had started and finished was magical and made for a special night. Geraine Georges, Public Relations Manager of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority welcomed the sailors to Saint Lucia on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and CEO of the SLTA.
Andrew Bishop spoke, remembering the participants highlights of the rally including the magic of exiting the Panama Canal into the Pacific, amazing cruising during lockdown in French Polynesia, the welcome and friendliness of Fiji, scenery in New Zealand and varied activities in South Africa. From at sea, the SSB Radio Net, sailing inside the Great Barrier Reef and arriving back in the Caribbean to complete what had been a truly amazing journey.
Participants joined in with Peter Harvey from Chanto thanking Andrew for his commitment to World Cruising Club over thirty years, encouraging and enabling so many to undertake passages they might otherwise only have dreamt of doing. Peter then presented a special rally accolade, a jacket that has been passed from crew to crew around the world after each leg, equivalent of the “yellow jersey”, although it is awarded not for winning, but for an act of rally significance. Bruno De Carvalho Barbosa, who had joined and stayed with Jubilate Mare for the duration of their time away from January 2021, received the jacket for his eager and enthusiastic support of everyone in the fleet.
Banded together as “Sailors of the Lost ARC” the group of three from the World ARC 2020 start who had been locked down in French Polynesia, and then continued loosely together, also had their special jacket award, presented on this occasion by David and Anne Pankratz, Amazing Grace, to Alan and Avryl Broadbridge, Island Wanderer, for always being there with their support for others.
Petra and Richard Haig, Celtic Star, led the group in a rendition of the World ARC sea shanty to round off the formal part of the evening and mark the end of a very special day that was the official end of this unique World ARC. The camaraderie and friendships however will not end here and are likely to endure the test of time to continue for many years ahead.
Amazing Grace, Chanto and Island Wanderer head to Grenada, and Ko Tangaroa to Trinidad, to over-summer before another Caribbean season continuing their adventures, whilst Celtic Star, Jubilate Mare and Nakula head eastbound across the North Atlantic.
Delivery of the rally would not have been possible without the support of the World Cruising Club yellow shirts Andrew & SWade, Manuel, Stefano and Peta; and remotely Paul, Suzana, Jeremy, Sarah, Martine and Emma, and of course, leading the team and supporting participants throughout as he heads to enjoy retirement, Andrew Bishop.