Group 2 of the World ARC 2023-24 Circumnavigator fleet departed from the Bora Bora lagoon at midday today, in front of the spectacular backdrop of Mount Otemanu, in the centre of the island. The winds were light but sufficient to get the fleet underway. Leading the group across the start line was the Italian yacht Enalia, skippered by Cristina Mugnaini, followed by the British yacht Misty of Mylor, skippered by Mark Henley.
The first boat to hoist coloured sails was the Swedish yacht Saphir, sailed double-handed by Edgar and Eva Sesemann, followed by another Swedish yacht SALT. Several of the crews were also led out of the pass by dolphins, which added to the spectacle.
The group will sail in the wake of Group 1 who departed from Bora Bora on Sunday. Their route will take them northwest to one of the Cook Islands for a stop of up to three days, before continuing on the 500+ nautical mile passage down to the mid-Pacific island nation of Niue. In Niue, the fleet is hosted by the friendly Niue Yacht Club, who maintain a number of deep water mooring on the lee shore of the island. The number of moorings is limited to less that the number of yachts in the World ARC fleet and so the fleet have divided into two groups.
The wind conditions for both groups have been lighter than the crews would have wanted. But the trade winds, whilst still light, are beginning to build to more moderate in nature now. However, it is always a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ because both the next two stopovers will be more comfortable on board with moderate rather than strong conditions.
Ultimately, the fleet is heading to the island group of Vava’u in Tonga. Here the two groups will gather together again for a programme to explore the ‘Friendly Islands’ and culture. All the boats should be back together at the beginning of June.