Malolo, a Marsaudon ORC 50 vessel in the charge of a six-man crew was the first yacht over the line at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina, last weekend, to herald the celebration for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers [ARC] 2022.
The North American based crew made landfall in record time to the shores of Saint Lucia in just 11 days, 12 hours, 12 minutes and 26 seconds.
Under the cover of darkness, last Thursday, (December, 1) Malolo and her crew of six experienced sailors anchored at the IGY RB Marina at 20:42hrs local time.
At the official welcome ceremony, last Friday, with a host of local partners in attendance, Master of Ceremonies and ARC Event Manager, Andrew Pickersgill, welcomed the Malolo crew and acknowledged the input of all that have worked hard to ensure the success of the ARC 2022 programme in Saint Lucia.
Pickersgill declared, “This year’s ARC was certainly back to its pre-pandemic spirit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and with 137 yachts, almost 800 crew from 36 different counties, IGY Rodney Bay Marina is sure to be alive with the unique post Atlantic buzz fuelled by Saint Lucia’s inspirational hospitality.”
He added that with the majority of boats likely to arrive by the weekend of 10th/11th December “the crews will have lots of time to explore and sample the local area before the Prize Giving in two weeks’ time.”
General Manager of IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Sean Devaux said, “We are proud to welcome the first of the fleet and it is an honour to host the ARC. We welcome the crew on Malolo and thank you for choosing ARC to cross the Atlantic and I hope you enjoy Saint Lucia and all the events planned for you over the next couple of weeks.”
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) have been welcoming ARC sailors for over 30 years, and the annual arrival forms an important part of the island’s events calendar.
In welcoming the sailors to local shores, SLTA’s CEO, Lorine Charles-St. Jules remarked: “The arrival of the ARC makes an imaginable difference to the people of the island and greatly supports marine tourism. I hope you have a wonderful time in Saint Lucia.”
Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire extended a hearty welcome to the sailors, stating: “Welcome everyone and the staff of the ARC. One year on, we are grateful to have passed all the COVID restrictions which allows all the celebrations to happen in true local style.”
He urged the sailors to “enjoy the wonders of Saint Lucia” adding that the ARC brings tremendous revenue and coverage for the island “and we are delighted you can enjoy the celebrations without any restrictions this year.”
The tourism minister admitted that he was not a big sailing fan, and it was too risky a venture for him to partake in. However, “I realise and acknowledge the excitement and I have the hugest respect for those who achieve the crossing.”
World Cruising Club (WCC) yachting expert analyst declared that Malolo’s crew are certainly worthy of respect, completing the epic 3108 nautical mile journey from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Realising a lifelong dream for Malolo’s owner Tom Kassberg, the crossing began with a flying start, despite the challenging swell off Las Palmas. The wind and swell stayed with them for the next 11 days with the classic trade wind conditions producing a very impressive crossing, averaging over 220 nautical miles per day and keeping their average speed in double figures with blasts up to an incredible 28kts, even at night.
Addressing the gathering, Kassberg said, he was “so excited to be here and our arrival has far exceeded all of our expectations. I have had the opportunity to sail in many rallies and races all over the world and this is by far the best welcome I have ever received.”
For Tom, this has been a dream for 20 years to join the ARC. With great sentiment, he mentioned his father always wished to cross the Atlantic and never got the chance so it was also an important personal journey for him.
Tom expressed his gratitude, saying, “We are excited to be staying here for a few weeks and we are very touched and appreciate everyone making us feel so welcome.”
To complete the proceedings, Pickersgill declared ARC 2022 officially underway in Saint Lucia and concluded the event by saying “Congratulations to Malolo on a fantastic crossing!”