Today the World ARC 2017-18 fleet set off from Saint Lucia at midday in perfect starting conditions. There was sunshine mixed with some clouds, wind conditions on the line gave 15-18 knots from the East-North-East making for a fast reach down the South West coast of the island to Castries. The 26 yachts out on the water made a great spectacle as the first leg of the 7th edition of World ARC got underway. Supporters came out to cheer friends across the starting line from their dinghies and some even followed the fleet down to Castries.
On preparation for the departure, yesterday started early with a seminar from Chris Tibbs who delivered an informative talk on Emergencies at Sea. Chris covered a variety of topics including rig failures and solutions, water ingress, Man Over Board, rudder loss, injuries to crew and heavy weather issues.
Following Chris’ seminar the Skippers' Briefing took place at 1045LT (UTC -4) where the World ARC team provided information for leg 1 covering the start line procedures, communications, weather forecast, and arrival in Santa Marta, Colombia.
In the evening a Farewell Party held at Bay Gardens Hotel which was an excellent finale for World ARC stay in Rodney Bay, hosted by the Saint Lucia Tourism Board.
The first yacht across the start line was the Turkish flagged North owned by Nejat Avci followed by Arabela owned by Sergey Eriskin, and thirdly Taistealai owned by Chris and Helen Tibbs.
The rest of the fleet followed in close succession creating a great passage along the coast. Also, out on the water was the committee vessel with local spectators, press, and Minister of Tourism Dominique Fedee and several local authorities.
The whole fleet passed the start line and continued South following the Saint Lucian coastline to a turning mark that was off the harbour of Castries.
Once at the turning marking the fleet turned to the West and set off for Santa Marta in Colombia. The fleet can expect fresh to strong trade wind conditions with occasional and isolated squalls.
The start today marks the end of a fantastic programme for the World ARC crews in Saint Lucia. The programme would not be possible without the support of several local organisations like the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, IGY Rodney Bay Marina and the Saint Lucia Yacht Club that gave a great assistance on organizing that first part of this event and World ARC looks forward to returning to Saint Lucia at the end of the circumnavigation in April 2018.