The culmination of ARC January was the prizegiving ceremony celebrating the achievements of the crews taking part in the second edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) January. Held at the Golf and Country Club, the evening concluded the programme of events in Saint Lucia. As a smaller fleet it has allowed the crews to come together and get to know everyone in the fleet creating a wonderful community with a great sense of camaraderie. Many of the boats have plans to cruise together or rendezvous in other islands and some will remain friends for life.
World Cruising Club Managing Director, Paul Tetlow, led the evening welcoming the crews from the fleet of 28 boats up to receive awards and be recognised for their achievements. Despite being a smaller fleet there was no shortage of celebration, the room was filled with cheering and every award was met by thunderous applause showing the friendships and support for each and every crew and boat that have developed over the last few weeks.
Awards were presented for each division and class, with Te Reva (FRA) taking home first prize in the Multihull division, Finiens (DEU) winning the Class A Cruising Division and Dubbel Zout (USA) first in the Class B Cruising Division, also the only boat to record no motoring hours throughout the crossing. This year two boats crossed double-handed, Serendipity IV (CHE) and Pantiki (AUS) and were recognised for their achievement with Serendipity IV also taking home the Safety Award, decided by the safety team in Las Palmas for being so well prepared ahead of the crossing. Most Beautiful Yacht, voted for by the ARC January fleet was won by Falcon Spirit (GBR), a Bestevaer 56ST.
Crossing the Atlantic later in the season in January, it was hoped would bring more reliable trade winds and better conditions. Whilst the fleet started from Las Palmas with steady winds and fairly consistent conditions for the first week, the second week brought a lack of wind for some of the fleet which meant some had a slower than expected crossing. However all boats arrived in Rodney Bay Marina ahead of the prizegiving with the last boat to come in, Dena arriving on 9th February around 6am.
Friends and family have been following the fleet as they crossed both on the YB tracker and also from the blogs and photos sent in from the fleet keeping everyone updated on life at sea. There were awards for the blogs sent into the website with best non-english blog awarded to Sander (14) on Cohiba, Best Junior Blog going to Jason (10) on Aquavita and best overall blog award presented to Rhapsody for their entertaining accounts of life onboard while Falcon Spirit was awarded best photos at sea.
As ARC January is a cruising rally, awards were also presented for categories celebrating the unique experience of a shared ocean crossing. Biggest fish, oldest and youngest skipper and crew and shortest distance to sail were among the many prizes, not to mention Most Celebratory Crew presented to Pickle 2 for their consistency and commitment to partying, both departing Las Palmas and arriving in Saint Lucia to music and dancing. Also recognised were the children who crossed this year – 5 young sailors, aged from 6-months to 15 years old sailing on 4 boats in the rally. Each one received an award to recognise their achievements.
Participants have been welcomed to Saint Lucia with a full programme of events organised by World Cruising Club, the Events Company Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and IGY Rodney Bay Marina. The prize giving ceremony also gave the opportunity to thank the many local supporters of the ARC January rally. The Right Honorable Ernest Hilaire, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, IGY Rodney Bay Marina General Manager Sean Deveaux and Paul Collymore, Director of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority gave speeches. Mineva Ross from Events Company Saint Lucia gave the vote of thanks and emphasised that the crews will forever be welcome in Saint Lucia and encouraged them to return soon.
As the prizegiving came to an end Paul Tetlow wrapped up the ceremony, thanking everyone who has contributed to make the event such a success. From the crews without whom there wouldn’t be an ARC January to the Yellow Shirts and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Events Company Saint Lucia and partners who gave the crews such a warm welcome to their island. The ceremony was followed by local entertainment, drinks and food rounding off the participants time in Saint Lucia and concluding the ARC January programme.