It’s been a wonderful week of bonding, camaraderie and fun for the World ARC rally participants as they gathered in this stunning port of Santa Marta, Colombia.
Culminating Leg 1 of the rally, it was Nica, a 63ft Roger Hill Yacht Design who was the first boat in the World ARC fleet to arrive at IGY Marina Santa Marta, sailing 923 miles in a very fast three days, 12 hours and 38 minutes. Owner Maren Gondesen commented, "It's been a great sail, although the sea was very bumpy at times. We're so happy to be back in Santa Marta again."
The next boat to arrive was Fatjax, a Shipman 63, which sailed 863 miles in four days and 48 minutes. The rest of the boats followed in close succession with Crazy Horse, a late starter leaving Saint Lucia, who completed the fleet on Friday night.
Arriving skippers and crew gathered at the marina’s outdoor café bar and it wasn’t long before the party atmosphere started as they greeted each other like old friends; sharing stories of their passage, weather, the fish caught and the marine life seen, including dolphins and whales! The Cambiante Marina Bistro remained a hub for social gatherings during the day, and also in the evenings when they met to enjoy a sundowner and witness the stunning sunsets across the Bay of Santa Marta.
An active programme of events during the week has seen many enjoying an organised tour of Santa Marta to discover its immense history, nature and culture. Taking in Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino - a beautiful hacienda built in the 17th century and famous for being the death place of Simón Bolívar, one of the most prominent political figures in the emancipation of South America. With a brief walking tour past the markets and down the colourful streets, the tour culminated with a visit to the Tairona Gold Museum and Santa Marta Cathedral.
A highlight for many was the superb Welcome Party laid on by IGY Marina Santa Marta at the Cambiante Marina Bistro. Cocktails and canapes flowed as the sun went down, with musical ambience provided by a deejay who accompanied some of the tracks performing on his saxophone. As guests gathered, they swapped tips about the tours they had enjoyed as they explored the rural and rugged landscape and stunning scenery around Santa Marta.
The party was well attended by local dignitaries including the Port Captain for Santa Marta Port Authority, the Captain from the local Colombian Coast Guard, Head of Immigration for Santa Marta, Director of Tourism for Santa Marta and also from the Mayor’s Office as well as the wonderful IGY Marina Santa Marta staff and agents.
Other tours included a visit to Fundehumac, a local charity working with women and children who have been affected by violence or crime. The charity provides support and education and helps them integrate into society. Rally participants were welcomed to the centre by some of the children who put on a show of local dances. Everyone then joined in activities, painting and making bracelets to give to each other as a way of 'passing our love and knowledge'.
Other events on the programme include a Paella and Sangria evening organised by Cambiante Marina Bistro, the Skippers’ Briefing at Club Santa Marta and a dinner and Leg 1 prizegiving at Estación Charter Terrace.