ARC+ Rally Control and the Saint Lucia Tourist Board have begun to welcome the first arrivals of this year’s fleet into Rodney Bay Marina. Lagoon 450 Flybridge Spirit was first to arrive, crossing the finish line at 07:23:56 local time on Tuesday 29 November. Her crew of Keith, Claire, Nigel, Dirk and Bailey the dog were all delighted to arrive after almost 13 days at sea following their departure from Mindelo, Cape Verde on Wednesday 16 November.
Soon keeping the Spirit
crew company was the largest boat of ARC+ 2016, Masa Yume
, who arrived 19:09:39 local time, followed in the next day by Sea to Sky
, Baby Blue
, who all arrived within 90 minutes of one another.
By the end of today, over a dozen yachts will have made landfall, marking the start of the largest ever combined fleet to arrive in Saint Lucia. Over the next three weeks, 1500 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.
In the meantime, blogs from the boats at sea continue to share a little insight about life on board for those watching on. “More great sailing with the spinnaker in 5 to 10 kn of wind with the miles clocking down to St. Lucia. Just under 500 Nm left to go.” writes the crew of ARC+ yacht Clyde Challenger, “Throughout the night sea state was slight, weather fair and visibility moderate to good. The watches had a quiet night as usual. Winds were E F4 when at about 01:00 blue watch noticed a white light in the distance but was unsure at the time if it was another yacht. Later they thought the light looked red but nothing was showing on the AIS. As the sun came up we found out it was indeed another yacht, Endeavour of Cork, their skipper talked with our skipper over the radio and informed him they had been chasing us for a few days. It was really nice to have some company.”
The ARC fleet are also counting down the miles, slowly it must be said, as they skirt the mid-Atlantic low pressure system. “In the last 24 hrs we have had a swim in a flat calm, seen 2 whales breaching a couple of miles from the boat, a great evening meal and a comfortable night on a close reach in around 12kts breeze with all getting a good night’s rest!” writes Nisida, one of many boats making the most of the tranquil days out on the ocean. Here's the crew of Almagores also enjoying a dip: