The fastest boat in the fleet, Gunvor XL, arrived in Mackay, Australia, around 0815 local time this morning after a windy but quick 1200 mile crossing from Vanuatu. Their arrival in Australia marks a significant achievement for the fleet, as they officially complete their crossing of the world's largest body of water, the Pacific Ocean, after heading away from the shores of Ecuador, South America, some five months ago.
The largest catamaran in World ARC, Anastasia, is expected around lunchtime, with several more boats due to arrive this evening and through the night. The rest of the fleet are expected to arrive over the next couple of days.
For most the crews, this will be the first time they have visited Australia, and many are taking the opportunity over the next few weeks to head out and explore some of the world famous sights the country has to offer.
From Mackay, the boats start a free-cruising period up through the Great Barrier Reef towards Thursday Island, where they will rendezvous again on August 22.
A busy program has been planned for Mackay, with a good old Aussie barbecue at the Mackay Yacht Club planned for friday night, by which time the whole fleet will have arrived, with the exception of Royal Leopard, who departed Vanuatu a couple of days after the other boats.
On Sunday morning, some local cruising experts are dropping by the Marina to chat to the participants about some of the best spots to visit as they sail up the Australian coast over the next few weeks. The cruising talk is followed by an official welcome to Australia with a typical 'aussie' barbecue, co-hosted by Mackay Tourist Board and Mackay Marina Village at the prestigeous Clarion Hotel right in the marina.