After two weeks at sea the first of the ARC January 2023 fleet have begun to arrive in Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. The first boat to cross the line was Finiens, a German flagged Hanse 675 skippered by Timmy Bon. Crossing the finish line at 06:41 local time on the 31st January, with an elapsed time of 15 days, 21 hours 41 minutes and 15 seconds they came in with sunrise in time for breakfast on land.
Leading the multihull division and the second boat to cross the line into Rodney Bay was Marsaudon ORC50, Ta’i Miti, with an all French crew onboard. The third boat to arrive, following in the theme was multihull and French boat, Te Reva, an Outremer 45.
Although the ARC January rally is a smaller fleet, they are welcomed in Saint Lucia in the same way as all boats who have crossed with an ARC rally, greeted by the Yellow Shirt team and the Events Company Saint Lucia who present all boats with a basket full of fresh local fruit and vegetables, spices and a bottle of the island’s famous Chairman’s rum. It wouldn’t be a Saint Lucia welcome without the promised and long awaited rum punch on the docks, to toast the crews arrival and celebrate their monumental achievements in crossing the Atlantic.
While it has been a slower crossing in parts, the boats have had a good crossing with very few minor problems reported although have questioned the lure of better conditions in January. As Te Reva said ‘We heard January was supposed to be better conditions and more consistent trade winds, we’re not convinced!’
The remainder of the fleet of 30 yachts are expected to arrive over the next week with four more boats due in the next 24 hours and can look forward to an exciting programme of events put on to welcome crews to the Caribbean including local food markets, welcome parties, a sunset cruise and culminating in the prizegiving.
This evening started the programme with the Early Arrivals welcome drinks reception on the dock in the marina to welcome the first boats to the island. Crews were welcomed with local rum punch and nibbles and treated to music and enjoyed meeting up with their fellow crewmates and exchanging stories of their crossings and catching up since they last met in Las Palmas.