It was a beautiful and very exciting start for ARC Europe 2023 today, Wednesday, 17 May. The only location which could arguably beat the splendour of Bora Bora in the French Polynesia, is the start in St Georges Bay in Bermuda. Crossing the line in quite a snug area of the bay, the fleet pass close together through “The Cut” which forms a spectacular sight.
First over the line towards the ODM was veteran to ARC rallies, Dan Bower on Skyelark II. They were closely followed by the Hallberg-Rassy 54, Bluewater Mooney. However, the real tension was to be found with the battle for third place across the start. Over toward the outer distance mark was Sea Child II, but roaring passed at the opposite end of the line, very close to the stern of the committee vessel, was Sea Dog from the USA. Looking back at the pictures it was Sea Child II who just had their bow across the line first, but it was extremely close. It provided a very exciting start as the rest of the fleet powered over the line one after the other.
With the beautiful turquoise sea below them and a perfect breeze of 12 knots from the southwest, 23 boats were quickly out into the Atlantic Ocean and on their way to the Azores. We all know boats are demanding and unfortunately there are a few members of the fleet who will remain in Bermuda for a few more days. Mostly for technical issues, they are all being looked after by local engineers who will work their magic as fast as possible so that they can depart and catch up with the fleet at the next stopover.
World Cruising Club is supported by several local organisations and associations which provide the fleet with an exciting programme of events during their stay in Bermuda. Thanks to St George’s Dingy and Sports Club for their continued support and all their enthusiastic efforts to ensure the events are delivered and everyone has a truly great time. Providing the venue for all the evenings events and home to 11 boats in the fleet it is a great pleasure to be able to enjoy all their facilities once again.
World cruising Club and the fleet also wish to thank Bermuda Tourism Authority who provided hot finger food at the happy hour, tentage for the prizegiving dinner and a magnificent display by local dancers; the Gombey’s.
Bermuda Yacht Services have also been a great supporter of the Rally and accommodated 8 of the fleet in the Town Quay. In addition, they also provide space for the ARC Europe office and assist with an array of many questions and requirements. Thank you for welcoming the team back.
Working on small islands can sometime bring challenges. With a last-minute change to suppliers, it was family run business RUBiS Dowling’s Marine Service Station who happily assisted and provided fuel to all the fleet at late notice. The dock handlers were highly experienced and hugely welcoming to all the boats wishing to fuel up. We could not have asked for a better service, thank you.
And finally, our thanks to Andrew Holmes, Director from Goslings Rum for providing a well-received talk and tasting at the weekend. Apparently between the fleet of 30 boats they ordered 75 bottles of duty-free rum. Now they are heading to cooler climates they are going to appreciate a tot or two when they arrive in the Azores!
The fleet have a stretch of 1800 NM to sail. Making landfall in Horta on the island of Faial, Azores, we will expect to see some of the faster boats in the fleet start arrive in around 10 - 12 days time with the rest of the fleet following a few days afterwards. We wish all the skippers and their crew a successful sail as they head eastward to the shores of Europe.