Serenaded by the local steel pan, the first ARC+ mooring lines to be secured to the pontoon at IGY Rodney Bay Marina belonged to Minimole
, a Neel 47. After an 11 day crossing the crew of 6 adults, 5 from Italy and 1 from France, have experienced a thrilling crossing covering a total of 2,122nm since their departure in Cape Verde on 21 November.
After stepping ashore, skipper, Marco Corno, explained “we had a fantastic trip with really fantastic weather. After 50nm out we took a big advantage and then we hit a slow zone and everyone was catching us up but we managed in the last 2 days to make it up. I am a bit surprised to be first. This is the first time for us and it’s a fantastic dream.”
In hot pursuit is fellow Italians on Aluaka
, a Stadtship 54, closely followed by Libeccio
a Catana 65 and then Sunbird
a CNB 60. Amongst the leading pack is the Pogo 36, Amarys, who for a smaller boat has kept up pace with the big boys and has had a super-fast voyage across the Atlantic.
The ARC+ fleet have experienced good trade wind conditions with the final run towards Saint Lucia seeing perfect easterly breezes of 15-18kts. During the crossing many boats have written daily blogs sharing their special moments as their final destination nears. Zan
recorded constent trade winds and under spinnaker they were making a fabulous speed of 8kts out of just 15kts of wind.
Other moments shared on the World Cruising Club website include Cuvee
celebrating their ‘half-way’ mark with Magnum Ice Creams while Jess on family boat, Oyster Moon
, overcame her seasickness and enjoyed frankfurters and beans for breakfast. Various fishing tails get a regular mention as do the spectacular sunrises and sunset. Amari’s
crew express this by how “getting away from it all provides a spacious back yard and spectacular views.” It’s safe to say, since the fleet’s departure from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 10 November, they have experienced all that the Atlantic has to offer and much more over the past four weeks.
For many crew members this is an adventure of a lifetime and reaching the Caribbean is an enormous achievement. Stepping onto dry land is a very emotional time and as the pontoons starts to fill, so does the atmosphere in the marina. Courtesy of the Events Company of Saint Lucia, each boat is presented with a welcome basket complete with a bottle of local rum and the World Cruising Club ‘yellow shirt’ team work around the clock to assist with each arrival.
In the coming days, Saint Lucia looks forward to welcoming the ARC+ fleet where some 400 crew members have an exciting programme of events organized for them on arrival. The social events begin with the Saint Lucia Tourist Authority Welcome Cocktail on Saturday 7 December, at the Harbor Club Hotel. In the meantime, and for those wishing to become more acquainted with the local area, there is the opportunity to take a tour of the north of the island, learn about the local cuisine at a Farmers Market and watch a Chefs Demo held in the grounds of the Marina. Further events taking place include sundowners at local venues and the eagerly awaited prize giving where the results for Leg 2 of ARC+ 2019 will be revealed.
Many congratulations to the lead boats, the island of Saint Lucia eagerly await the arrival of the rest of the fleet who are expected to make landfall over the next 5 days.