Whilst the World ARC 2014-15 fleet left Cape Town today, the next fleet of World ARC was setting out on its own adventure from Saint Lucia,heading west to Colombia and the Panama Canal. There was a seemingly calm and relaxed atmosphere on the docks of IGY Rodney Bay Marina as the World ARC 2015-16 crews made their final preparation; collecting fresh fruit, topping off water tanks, and stowing dinghies.
But then it was time to throw off the lines and head out to the start line in Rodney Bay. For many crews and owners, that moment was the goal of many years of thinking and hoping , and many recent months of detailed planning. So there was excitement as the boats processed out of the exit of the marina and crew got themselves ready for the start.
Conditions at the start were very good. The reliable easterly wind, forecast by ARC weatherman Chris Tibbs, blew across the start line at about 15 knots. As the countdown to the start, which was delayed by 10 minutes, was made on the VHF radio, a motor yacht Reel Extreme, was on station to provide representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and IGY Rodney Bay Marina, and other local supporters, an excellent view of the fleet as they got their sails up and into position.
The starting signal, first across the line was the Beneteau First 47.7 Exocet Strike, with the Lagoon 62 Makena, the XP 44 GarliX and the Amel 54 A Plus 2 crossing closely after. All the boats followed the coastline of Saint Lucia towards Castries and it was GarliX who was first around the turning mark to head out west towards the next World ARC 15-16 destination of Santa Marta Colombia.
The crossing is expected to be quick, but a little uncomfortable. The first boats are expected in Colombia on Wednesday or Thursday and the fleet’s progress can be followed here: http://www.worldcruising.com/world_arc/eventfleetviewer.aspx