9 January 2024 - The excitement and anticipation is ramping up in Saint Lucia as 23 of the 25 boats have arrived at IGY Rodney Bay Marina for World ARC 2024-25. This aspirational rally, which takes like-minded cruisers on a 26,000 nautical mile circumnavigation of the world, starts in just four days’ time.
On site in IGY Rodney Bay Marine is the Rally Office, where the Yellow Shirt team are on hand to finish boat check-ins, complete the safety checks and answer any questions about the rally and the fabulous destinations it’s visiting over the next 15 months.
World Cruising Club’s official Welcome Party was held on Sunday, which kicked off the week-long programme of events. The informal evening, designed for participants to get to know each other over a rum punch and delicious food, was held at Sea Salt Restaurant and Bar. The skippers were asked to take the microphone to introduce their crew and boat, with many using the topic of ‘how did your boat get its name’ as an icebreaker.
Lane Jacobs, owner of Corsair, a Bristol 57ft sloop, got a resounding round of applause for his introduction, saying, “I’ve wanted to sail around the world since 1976 and it’s taken me almost 50 years since then to learn to sail, save the money, get the right boat, and find the time to do it. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here at last for the start of World ARC 2024.”
Additional social events include the Marina Manager’s Welcome Party and Saint Lucia Tourism Authority’s Farewell Party, which takes place on Friday. Sian Joesbury, owner of Bahiti, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49 said, “I love these parties, it’s such a great way to get to know everyone and to pick people’s brains on the destinations we’re visiting. I’m particularly keen to know more about Galapagos.”
Additional events being organised during the week include a Tree Top Tour Adventure - zip lining through the canopy of some of Saint Lucia’s beautiful rainforest.
Briefings and seminars include an introduction to the Rally Route, with a more detailed look at the destinations especially the first few stopovers. Meteorologist, Chris Tibbs, will be giving a Weather Briefing, looking at typical weather patterns on the tradewind route. There will also be a comprehensive Skippers’ Briefing for the exciting first Leg to Santa Marta.
Starting on 13 January 2024 from Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, the rally will head to Colombia, San Blas and Panama before going through the legendary Panama Canal. Once in the Pacific Ocean, they will sail to far flung destinations such as Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal in Galapagos and onwards to French Polynesia - and that's all just in the first few months!