The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority [SLTA] in collaboration with Events Company of Saint Lucia [ESL] Inc., is all set to accommodate fleets from the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – ARC and ARC January – as the yachters set to cross the 2700 nautical mile journey from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia, for the 2022/2023 edition.
Additionally, next January and February, the island will host two World ARC fleets when they begin their ‘round the world voyage’ from the IGY Rodney Bay Marina.
Recently, the SLTA and IGY signed an agreement with World Cruising Club, for Saint Lucia to host the World ARC Rally for another three years. The fleet are scheduled to begin their circumnavigation each January and return after a round the world adventure 16 months later in April.
According to the local organizers, the first rally to touch down in Saint Lucia is ARC 2022 with 24 children ages 2-16 amongst the 800 crew members aboard 145 vessels, representing 36 nationalities.
The fleet set sail on November 20 and are expected to spend at least 18-21 days at sea on the open ocean for the traditional cruising yachts. The majority of the vessels are expected to arrive in Rodney Bay by December, 13 ahead of the ARC Prize Giving Ceremony on December, 17.
While expressing the authorities commitment to the renowned event, Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire remarked, “The ARC is undoubtedly an income generator for the island, and we are most proud of the share of the spending.”
Hilaire added, “We are working assiduously to ensure Saint Lucia’s marine offerings are world-class and that our yachtsmen and women can enjoy our communities while basking in the destination’s offerings. We look forward to meeting the participants and hearing the brave stories of their journey here.”
A Saint Lucian father and son duo, Michael and Christian Richings, will participate in the ARC 2022 Cruising Division. The duo are no strangers to the transatlantic crossing having sailed in the ARC twice before.
“I am excited to represent Saint Lucia with my father at my side. This will be my fourteenth transatlantic crossing and fifth as Captain. The vessel, Skyelark 2 has participated in the ARC many times before and so has our eight-member crew, most of whom have invested in owning a piece of Saint Lucia,” Christian said.
The World Cruising Club (WCC) and SLTA have collaborated to host four visiting journalists to the destination. The journalists are expected to publish special highlights on the event internationally and feature Saint Lucia as a premiere yachting destination.
This year’s visiting media represent publications such as Sailing Today, Yachting Monthly, Yachting Sud, Boot Magazine, Bootmag Belgium, Cruising World, and Yachting World.
WCC Managing Director Andrew Bishop noted: “Saint Lucia has now been the home of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers for 33 years with IGY Rodney Bay Marina hosting the fleet each year. The tremendous welcome afforded the visiting participants makes their landfall on island a memorable experience and great start to their Caribbean season.”
He went on to say that, “Since the first event in 2008, our round the world rally World ARC has started from Rodney Bay, becoming an annual event in 2013, and exceptionally starting with two fleets in January and February 2023; we are delighted to have confirmed the destination for the start and finish of World ARC for a further three years.
“This winter we will be bringing a total of some 250 yachts to the island from all our events for participants to experience the great hospitality and community experiences offered by the islanders. Saint Lucia does us proud,” Bishop said.
ARC 2022 will set the tone for the second hosting of ‘ARC January’. The event sets off from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the fifteenth of the month, to bring participants to the Caribbean during what has been described as ‘a time when the Atlantic crossing should give constant trade winds with few calms’. Approximately 40 boats will arrive with the ARC January 2023 fleet.
As well as marking their arrival in the Caribbean, Rodney Bay will also host the start of the adventure for two fleets beginning their amazing sailing journeys with World ARC. The first World ARC fleet – known as the ‘Circumnavigators’ – will enjoy a pre-departure programme in Saint Lucia ahead of their start on January 7. Six weeks later, on February 18, it will be the turn of World ARC ‘Pacific’.
In total, over 60 boats will be hosted by the agencies and with two starts to take place from IGY Rodney Bay Marina.