They say all good things must come to an end and this weekend in Saint Lucia the curtain call came for the crews of World ARC 2016-17 who completed the rally back where it all began some 15 months ago.
On Saturday, the final day of their rally adventure, the Parade of Sail from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay Marina and official Prize Giving ceremony provided a fitting finish to their round the world adventure. The sight of the fleet parading up the coast of Saint Lucia accompanied by members of the Saint Lucia Yacht Club, media and supporters of World ARC in Saint Lucia was an emotional moment for many. A light breeze made for a motor in an orderly fashion with one yacht behind another in reverse order of length overall. On their circuit of Castries Harbour steel pan music wafted across theharbour from a band on the wharf, which helped keep crews in party modeas they moved to the sounds on passing by.
Crossing the finish line, that had been their start line fifteen months before, marked an end to the circumnavigation with World ARC as they were each personally congratulated by Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of World Cruising Club. “Completing a circumnavigation is a very special moment, and to be here to welcome and congratulate our World ARC participants is always a great experience, especially with a group that has bonded so closely.”
On the Gros Islet cut into Rodney Bay Marina a group of twenty or so school children were joined by the Minster for Tourism, Dominic Fedee, all waving to welcome the yachts back to Saint Lucia, a gesture much appreciated by all the participants, and thanked for later by Jukka Auramo from Mearra Nieida at the prizegiving.
After berthing at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina there was high emotion on the dock at a short drinks reception hosted by the marina, where the participants were welcomed back by IGY Rodney Bay Marina Manager Sean Deveaux, and Andrew Bishop.
The Saint Lucia Tourist Board hosted a fantastic prize giving dinner in the evening at the Royal by Rex Resorts Hotel, where crews were welcomed back to Saint Lucia by the Honourable Dominic Fedee, Minister for Tourism, Heritage and Culture in Saint Lucia, who said how pleased he was to see World ARC's return to the country’s shores. The evening of celebration continued with superb food, and after-dinner dancing late into the night which was a splendid way to end 15 months of challenge, excitement and fun.
The crews have been spoilt with some beautiful, fascinating and welcoming places all around the globe but speaking on the dockside, all agreed that it will be their friends from the rally that they will miss most as they go their separate ways. “We will miss the people we have met on this incredible journey and those with whom we have shared so many amazing experiences, and the excitement of visiting remote places” said Pat and Stuart Smith from Brizo. Jukka Auramo,from Mearra Nieida echoed their sentiment, “Sailing round the world with World ARC has been like sailing around the world with family.” Exploring the world together as a ‘World ARC family’ has made all those experiences into truly special memories to be treasured for years to come.