Italian boat 12 Nacira 69 sailing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to IGY Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia claimed the Line Honours award for the first boat to complete the 3000 miles journey across the Atlantic last Friday, arriving at 3.15 a.m.
The crew comprising Italians, French and Americans, recorded a time of 11 days, 14 hours 31 minutes 35 seconds.
The nine member crew were officially welcomed to Saint Lucia by ARC Event Manager Andrew Pickersjill and his team, IGY General Manager, Sean Devaux, Minister for Tourism Ernest Hilaire along with staff of the Ministry of Tourism, Chairman of Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Thaddeus Antoine, Events Saint Lucia CEO, Lauren Sidonie and her team and members of the Media.
“This is the 36th edition of the ARC, and the 32nd time it has been to Saint Lucia. We are running it as we did in 2020 and we are making it happen with the help of everybody in Saint Lucia. We have twice as many boats this year compared to last year. A total of 143 boats, 29 different nationalities with a combined crew of 900 crossing the Atlantic to arrive in Saint Lucia before the prize giving ceremony in two weeks-time,” said Event Manager for World Cruising Club (WCC) 2021 in Saint Lucia, Andrew Pickersjill.
Some of the components associated with the ARC: “We have joined forces with Events Saint Lucia and the IGY Marina, between us we’ve worked very hard to do as much as possible to make it a lively atmosphere, obviously within the bonds of what we are allowed to do as regards directives from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).”
Pickersjill said, “We’ve got a village stores selling all types of merchandise, we have the farmers market schedule to take place in a few days time for the next three weeks which is great news. We have an opportunity for a welcome drink at S
He described the 12 NACIRA 69 as a racing boat, a new boat made comfortable inside which did not slow down.
“It is an incredible boat and travels very quickly. The crew onboard is a very good bunch of people; they were full of life when they arrived at 3.15 a.m. It is the first time they encountered a journey like this, hope we can see more of them in the ARC going forward, because it does bring some competition to the event,” Pickersjill said.
He said he saw absolutely no reason why Saint Lucia cannot be the host of the event for many more years..
General Manager for IGY Marina Sean Devaux gave a heartfelt welcome to the nine member crew on behalf of his team.
Devaux said, “Considering the start that you had and being in Saint Lucia in 11 days, you had a good start. Both Andrew and myself will probably toy with the idea of a record this year. It is an amazing achievement and considering everything we are going through right now with COVID -19 we’ve managed to pull this off with the support of all the participants. You have a lot to be proud of and welcome to the IGY Marina.”
“This is the 32nd ARC taking place in Saint Lucia and we have partnered with IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Events Saint Lucia and the Ministry of Health to ensure we have ARC this year. As you would all appreciate we are still going through a pandemic and it is a very difficult time. We are very appreciative of that. You have taken the time to travel 3000 miles to Saint Lucia from Las Palmas to be here with us and we hope your families could join in as well to have a longer stay,” said Chairman Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Thaddeus Antoine.
“The ARC has been very important to us in Saint Lucia, it has been a staple and we’re hoping there will be more spin offs. There is ARC January and we’re hoping some of you would stay behind to partake in ARC January and other Regattas built around the ARC as we go along,” Antoine added.
Tourism Minister, Ernest Hilaire, stated that the ARC is part of the landscape of Saint Lucia in that there cannot be a December without the ARC “and in many ways for Saint Lucians this is that start for Christmas. So the celebration starts from the time the first boat arrives and from now until the New Year we will be celebrating,” Ernest said.
The Minister further stated that due to how the world is with COVID “we cannot celebrate the fullness of celebrations that we know. There are restrictions that are in place and all the other considerations would certainly limit what we can do, but we are delighted you are here and we will celebrate with you and the other boats when they come in.”
He stressed the importance of the Arc to the local tourism product.
“Saint Lucia is a delightful place to be in, the offerings of Saint Lucia is really extra ordinary and you are in one of the most favoured part of Saint Lucia. Enjoy Saint Lucia as much as you can despite the limitation, the team that’s on the ground from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and Events Saint Lucia, will do all that they can to ensure that you have the very best time in Saint Lucia. We look forward to seeing you in the future and hopefully the next edition will be under a more joyous occasion with less restrictions,” Hilaire said noting significant contribution of the ARC to the local economy.
By all indications, the remaining competitors in the Cruising Division will have to enjoy life at sea for a while longer. Over the coming days many will celebrate their own milestones as they enjoy calmer conditions after a breezy departure from Las Palmas on Sunday 21st November.