With the start of World ARC 2023-24 only one day away participants had the chance to relax and enjoy another fun evening together at The Bay Gardens Beach Resort at the Farewell Party was hosted by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority. Arriving in their ‘smart barefoot’ attire, participants were welcomed with rum cocktails and drinks from the beach bar and a variety of finger food accompanied by the sounds of a steel pan band.
During the evening, Andrew Pickersgill welcomed participants and representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourist Authority and the Events Company Saint Lucia who decked out the venue with festive lights, flags, and backdrops of Saint Lucia’s landmarks. Andrew introduced Sean Deveaux, Manager of IGY Rodney Bay Marina who extended warm words to the participants, many who have made the marina home for the festive period ahead of the World ARC start.
Following Sean’s address, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, the Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilaire was welcomed to the stage. A great supporter of all the WCC events visiting Saint Lucia, the Minister was delighted to be able to attend the event and to share his admiration of the World ARC Crews as they set off on their circumnavigation. After saying he would never be brave enough to cross an ocean in a sailboat, having spoken with previous ARC participants, he continued, “I realise and acknowledge the excitement you all hold and I have the hugest respect for those who embark on this great adventure. I do hope I will be here to warmly welcome you all back to Saint Lucia in 15 months time.”
Andrew also thanked partners, IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and the Events Company of Saint Lucia of which all the events could not happen without their support. He also thanked the World Cruising yellow shirt team who will continue to support the rally as they circumnavigate the world and will be at every stopover to welcome and assist the fleet. He finished his speech by hoping the barefoot beach theme for the evening sets the scene for the rest of everyone’s adventure and he wished the fleet all the very best for the world rally.
The night continued with music, dancing, and of course the rum kept flowing as new friendships grew amongst the fleet.
This morning saw the final seminar take place, Emergencies at Sea, which was conducted by meteorologist and round-the-world sailor Chris Tibbs who covered a variety of topics including rig failures and solutions, water ingress, man overboard, rudder loss, injuries to crew and heavy weather issues. Participants found the information fascinating and there were plenty of useful reminders of how to come should incidents arise at sea.
The all-important Skipper’s Briefing took place after Chris’s seminar where the World ARC team provided information for Leg 1 covering the start line procedures, communications, weather forecast, and arrival in Santa Marta, Colombia. Now all the seminars and briefings are complete the fleet is keen to start their adventurous journey.
Whilst the programme here in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, comes to a close, everyone involved is focusing on the start of the rally at midday tomorrow, Saturday 7 January 2023. The fleet will start from Rodney Bay in the shadow of Pigeon Island, waved off by the committee and VIPs on board the spectator boats as they begin the 815nm sail to Marina Santa Marta in Colombia at 12:00 noon local for the first leg of World ARC 2023!