Day Sixteen of ARC 2021 saw the number of new arrivals reach the 20 boat mark, and with a buzz building on the dockside, it was time for a proper Saint Lucian welcome. Crews from the ‘first arrivals’ were welcomed to the Sandals Golf & Country Club for a wonderful introduction to the culture, music and food of Saint Lucia.
As the rum punch was poured in a COVID-safe environment, crews were treated to a dazzling display of Lucian music and dancing. Having split the crews into two smaller groups to comply with current social distancing rules, the entertainment was shared across the two parties. Steel pan music was the common theme as dancers from Silver Shadow and later Stars Incorporated, delighted and amazed the crews with their colourful performances.
After the trials of the global pandemic, and despite the additional burden of COVID testing and quarantine clearances, having the ARC arrive into Saint Lucia marks the start of the Caribbean winter sailing season and a step further towards a return to more normal times.
Minister for Tourism, the Honourable Ernest Hilaire, officially welcomed the crews to the inspirational island of Saint Lucia and praised their courage and commitment in crossing the wide Atlantic Ocean, a sentiment echoed by IGY Rodney Bay Marina Manager Sean Deveaux in his welcome.
With delicious food to enjoy, ice-cold rum punch flowing and pulsating pan music, it was time to party.
To date forty-three boats have now crossed the finish line in Rodney Bay to start their own Caribbean adventure. Whilst at sea, almost one hundred boats are still to arrive, driven on at a fast pace by strong Atlantic trade winds. During the next three days there will be a constant stream of arrivals, with around 80% of the fleet expected in by Sunday 12th December. For the ARC 2021 crews, the party is just beginning!