Situated 1,400km north east of Tahiti and one of the five archipelago that make up the French Polynesia lies the Marquesas. This group of 12 high islands and rocky inlets, of which only 6 are inhabited, are among the most isolated land masses on the planet.
Having crossed the start line in the Galápagos on 6 March and traveling just under 3,000nm, the faster boats in the World ARC fleet have begun to arrive early to the island of Hiva Oa.
Taking 14 days and 14 hours to cover the longest leg in the Rally, the Finot-Conq FC53, Nica, crossed the finish line first. With just a crew of two, skipper Gorm Gondersen and his wife Maren, they had a fast sail covering up to 270nm in a 24hr period on several occasions. This remarkable speed was not without its problems, breaking the boom vang during the journey, this makes their early arrival all the more spectacular. Just to prove their early arrival, the tables turned and much to the delight of the team, Gorm and Maren welcomed the World ARC staff at the airport on arrival from Papeete.
Anyone tracking the fleet via the fleet finder will have noticed there was another World ARC yacht already anchored in Taaoa Bay. Stepping out of the Rally for a short while, Ken Gibson on Resolute II
, an Atlantic 48, had an ambition to sail from Panama to the French Polynesia single handed. Our congratulations go out to his outstanding efforts and for achieving this sail in just over 21 days. Ken re-joins the world ARC in the Marquesas and looks forward to welcoming his wife Janice back on-board this weekend.
The second yacht to cross the finish line is one of the family boats, Charm
. With the family of five on-board along with 2 friends, they have also arrived in a very fast time of 15 days and 5 hours. After a well-earned rest they are all looking forward to exploring the Marquesas.
The rest of the fleet are expected to arrive over the weekend and into next week where each boat will be officially welcomed by the World ARC team, the Hiva Oa Tourist Board and the World ARC Agent who assists each crew with their entry into the country along with formalities such as obtaining duty free fuel permits, postal deliveries and any maintenance requirements.
Each boat is provided with a goodie bag on arrival full of maps and detail on what to do in the French Polynesia. With 118 islands to explore, many of them beautiful atolls, in an expanse of 4,167 square kilometres this will certainly be a spectacular chapter in the World ARC Rally.
Before heading west, the World ARC programme includes a number of traditional events, dances and dinners in the Marquesas along with prize giving in the island of Nuka Hiva on the 3 April.