The docks at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina are now full with ARC boats, as the 2022 fleet pulls into town. By the morning of 14th December there will be 118 boats finished in Saint Lucia, with just 18 boats still at sea. Rally Control are keeping a close eye on the progress of the final ARC yachts, most of whom have had some technical problems or had to stop en route in Mindelo, adding extra days to their passage times.
The weather patterns this year have been unusual, with a large low pressure system stationary for the last 10 days, some 700NM north of the rhumb line route to Saint Lucia. A blocking high pressure over NW Europe has prevented the normal passage of the low across the Atlantic, resulting in disrupted trade winds in the tropical Atlantic. However, now that the low has shifted and is in Biscay, its affects are no longer being felt by the remaining ARC yachts. With ‘normal service’ resumed, strong easterlies are once more blowing boats on towards the Caribbean, and expected arrival dates are being pulled closer, giving a welcome moral boost to those crews still at sea on day 23 of the ARC 2022.
Crews already in Saint Lucia have been filling their days with tours and activities, with the strenuous climb of the Gros Piton near Soufriere proving popular with the more active participants. Scuba diving, horse riding and rainforest zip-wire tours have also been popular. Those less energetic, or perhaps just looking for some indulgence after their Atlantic passage, have enjoyed spa treatments and massages as well as tours of the Saint Lucia Distillers rum distillery and the ‘Project Chocolat’ cocoa estate.
In Rodney Bay, the docksides are busy with sailors, chatting, swapping tales of their crossing, and pausing to give a noisy welcome to new arrivals. Amongst this morning’s new-commers were Action Penguin and Talisman, both double-handers and each needing a tow in to the marina due to various mechanical problems. On Talisman, they lost the use if their engines early on in their passage and have had to sail their way through the calms. There was some relief for crew Mark and Pam Adams when fellow ARC participants Luna, stopped and gave them a tow for two days. Luckily, Talisman had plenty of fuel to spare, having done virtually no motoring, and were able to ‘top-up’ their helpful tow-boat with extra diesel fuel!