THE 31st Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) set sail this past Sunday from Las Palmas de Gran Canariaen route to Island Global Yachting (IGY) Rodney Bay Marina.
Close to 30 seaworthy crafts simultaneously set sail from the Castries Harbour at 12:00 noon as part of the 11th annual Flotilla.Organized by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, the Flotilla is a symbolic event commemorating the official start of the ARC.
With a combined 270 ARC+ and ARC vessels which will eventually dock at the Island Global Yachting (IGY) Rodney Bay Marina, flotilla boats also crossed a symbolic finishing line at the marina.
As Saint Lucia prepares to receive and play host close to 1,500 sailors and their families, the Flotilla also provided a unique opportunity for Saint Lucians to be imbued with the spirit of the ARC. This year is no exception as Saint Lucia has served as the finishing leg of the ARC for the past 27 years and has welcomed thousands of mariners and their families since then.
Saint Lucia’s Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee, who was part of the Flotilla, fielded questions from the media upon his return on Reel Xtreme into Rodney Bay. The Minister hailed the event as “absolutely phenomenal.”
Fedee said. “Two hundred and fifty yachts are presently on their way to Saint Lucia and this is just a symbol as to what they are doing as well. It is good to see everyone coming out, especially individuals in Saint Lucia who own boats. I also see the media in full flight as well, and this is very encouraging.”
Of the yacthing sector, he said: “We have to look at our destination as a holistic product and look at our marinas and make sure we inculcate in our people as well the importance of sailing. We’ve got to transition from being island people to maritime people. Just next door in Martinique, we see how the sailing culture is more embodied in them; we can learn a lot from that. But government policy can help shape some of that, too.”
Asked about ARC, “Minister Fedee said: My numbers from World Cruising Club (WCC) is that they are expecting around 1,500 participants. That’s going to be good for the economy of Saint Lucia. When we have events like these, we must maximize the potential for revenue generation to create jobs, grow our economy and ensure that our people are positioned optimally to benefit from the enormous opportunities that come from tourism.”