ARC 2023 Takes Off in Breezy, Sunny Weather 🚤

Yachts sail off from Las Palmas en route to Saint Lucia
Yachts sail off from Las Palmas en route to Saint Lucia

This year’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers [ARC] took off on Sunday, with the traditional ARC Flotilla on tour from the Castries harbour to the Rodney Bay Marina.

Though it appeared to be a bit low-key in contrast to past Flotilla’s glamour and extravaganza, the participating boats and their entourage savoured the moment to revel in the ambience of the northerly waters on a bright sunny day.

Simultaneously, a total of about 156 yachts participating in the 38th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers departed Grand Canaria  en-route to Saint Lucia, which is 2700 nautical miles away, to a light southerly breeze and bright sunshine.

Leading the ARC 2023 fleets were Pierre de Saint-Vincent’s Piment Rouge (FRA) an Outremer 51 in the Multihull Division, followed by Marjolijn van Oordt’s Swan 52-3 Gaia (NLD) in the Racing Division. The 91-strong Cruising Division was led by Svante Jacobsson on Farr 65r Celeste of Solent (GBR).

On the home front, ARC Caribbean Events Manager Peta Cozier told reporters there were four categories of motor vessels that departed Las Palmas.

“Racing is the first one, and it’s the fastest division and there are 13 boats in that (category). Then we have the Cruising Division, which is the largest with 95 or 96 boats,” she said.

Cozier added that there is an ‘Open Division’, which is not part of the competition; and the Biggest Trend-Setter is the Multi Hull.

“So, we have 44 catamarans this year and one trimaran – that takes up a position of two boats, rather than one,” she explained.

According to Cozier, participants in the Racing Division are expected to arrive first on local shores.

She noted that there will be a “full calendar” of activities to entertain the yachties during their stay in Saint Lucia.

From December 4 and onwards the activities will be in full swing before culminating with the grand Prize- Giving ceremony.

Cozier listed other events, such as the Export Saint Lucia display – an added extension of the Taste of Saint Lucia promotion, which is “something new …that they are looking forward to”.

Also included in the celebrations will be a traditional Creole Party, where guests get an opportunity to be clad in Madras wear.

Another event will involve a Sunset Cruise to Anse La Raye  where guests will savour the Fish Fry experience and become immersed in the Saint Lucian culture.

CEO of Export Saint Lucia Sunita Daniel disclosed that the agency will host two events for ARC’23. This will include; A Taste of Saint Lucia Express and A Taste of Saint Lucia ARC Edition.

The Taste of Saint Lucia ARC Edition will be hosted on December 15 at the Rodney Bay Marina. “We are going to be bringing in a lot more business, creatives, activities for the children and really try to get the yachties to come in and enjoy part of the traditions, Saint Lucia’s culture and how we celebrate Christmas” said Daniel.

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority’s [SLTA] CEO Lorine Charles-St Jules informed that Saint Lucia had a representative team in Las Palmas for the sail-off. The team was headed by SLTA’s chairman Thomas Leonce and included IGY Rodney Bay Marina’s General Manager Sean Devaux, and other representatives.

“It’s a very special day for us …we are mimicking the launch and the take off,” she declared.

The annual ARC is into its 34th year, and Saint Lucia has hosted the event for a record 32 times.

It is anticipated that the vessels will take an average of two weeks before making landfall on local shores.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s take off in Las Palmas included the largest-ever fleet of multihulls and a re-energised Racing Division has boosted rally numbers to pre-covid levels. Forty-three multihulls took the start gun, including one trimaran, Neel 43 MiaMaGiR (FRA).

As Vincent Henry crew on Outremer 51, Piment Rouge explains, ‘It is a beautiful thing to cross the Atlantic this way with the ARC. It is more pleasurable’.

The heart of the ARC is the Cruising Division of monohulls, ranging from David Ceccarelli’s 10.1m Grand Soleil 34 Lady Eleonora (ITA) to the 32m Irelanda (MLT) from Alloy Yachts. This year’s 900 ARC sailors hail from 39 countries and range in age from one year to almost 90 and include families, charter crews, old friends and ocean hitchhikers.

As the ARC’s oldest sailor, 89-year-old Joff Hutchinson said, ‘I’ve been sailing for 82 years and have always wanted to cross the Atlantic. Now my sons have retired, there’s no better time’.

There are now 253 boats and 1,300 people aged from 8 months to 89 years currently crossing the Atlantic with ARC rallies, as the ARC+ fleet departed Cape Verde on 17 November, bound for Grenada.

World Cruising Club Managing Director, Paul Tetlow, said, ‘With the departure of the second wave of boats, the ARC Atlantic sailing season is truly underway, and everyone at World Cruising Club is so proud to play a small part in helping to realise the dreams of so many sailors. Fair winds, and see you all in the Caribbean for the next chapter of your ARC adventure’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend