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Rodney Bay Ready to Welcome ARC+ Arrivals

On 18 November the ARC+ fleet left Mindelo, Cape Verde bound for Saint Lucia’s shores just over 2000nm miles away. Ten days on, the ARC Yellow Shirts are ready and waiting in IGY Rodney Bay Marina and, together with representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, they will to welcome the first arrivals of the fleet this weekend.

Year after year, it is the welcome that boats sailing with the ARC receive that sets sailing with the rally apart from other ocean adventures. The ARC finish line is manned 24hrs a day by volunteers, the majority of which have taken part in the ARC in previous years and can remember how special their own arrival in Rodney Bay was after nearly two weeks at sea. Once sails are stowed, and fenders are found, each boat contacts ARC Berthing for directions to their slip in the marina. Met by a smiling ARC Yellow Shirt to take their lines, it’s time to celebrate making landfall in the Caribbean with a rum punch and basket of island produce presented by a representative from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board.

The first arrival will see the advent of the largest ever combined fleet of yachts making landfall in Rodney Bay. In the next three weeks, over 1400 sailors will have the opportunity to share tales from the crossing over a rum punch or two, taste some authentic fare at the Anse le Raye fish fry and of course dance the night away to reggae music at the infamous Caribbean parties.

The ARC+ fleet have made steady progress and constant trade wind conditions of no less than 15 knots from the east north east have supplied perfect sailing conditions for most. With enough wind for yachts to fly their downwind sails, the larger amongst the fleet are due to start arriving tomorrow following a relatively direct rhumb line course which the winds have allowed.

Although there is no Racing Division in ARC+ (there is for the direct route), two front runners have been jostling for position throughout the passage. And with just over 200nm to go, it still neck and neck between Nico Cortlever’s X-612 Nix and Swedish Swan 651 Adrienne II skippered by Martin Andersson, with both hoping for the glory of rounding Pigeon Island and heading over the ARC Finish Line first.

For those still enjoying their crossing, they can expect similar trade wind conditions for the next four days until a low pressure to the north of the Caribbean begins to disrupt the airflow resulting in likely lighter winds and more precipitation the closer they get to Saint Lucia.

Whenever they arrive, a warm Saint Lucian welcome awaits…

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