ARC 2011 is on the way

Once again the Sixth Annual ARC Flotilla signified the start of this year’s event which officially got under Sunday in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

We want to thank you all for coming out this morning and for being part of the Sixth Annual Flotilla. What a wonderful day. We’ve been having some tremendously beautiful weather and of course we witnessed just over 50 seaworthy vessels taking part in this year’s flotilla.”
That was the Public Relations Manager of the St Lucia Tourist Board, John Emmanuel, during welcoming remarks following the completion of Sunday’s flotilla, which began just after 10am from the Castries Harbour and ended at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina.
The flotilla is St Lucia’s way of recognizing and celebrating the 26th Atlantic for Cruisers commonly known as ARC, which got underway from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday bound for St Lucia. A total of 235 yachts of every size, make and description representing 31 nations, are on their
way to this beautiful island some 2700 nautical miles away.
As you would expect, there was a festive atmosphere at The IGY Rodney Bay Marina which serves as the official home of the ARC. Besides Emmanuel, the welcoming committee following the completion of the flotilla included Dr Stephen King of the St Lucia Yacht Club; General Manager of the IGY Rodney Bay Marina Adam Foster; Bob Hathaway of the Marine Industries; and the Marketing Representative of Digicel St Lucia Fiona Smith.
In welcoming everyone, Foster thanked those who participated in the flotilla and said “Today is a very special event one for us because it does signify the start of the ARC.”
Foster expects this year yachts will arrive earlier than last year which to him will translate with participants spending more time here, more money and the opportunity to enjoy a lot more of the St Lucian culture.
Conditions were ideal for the flotilla and for the 235 yachts that set sail on Sunday from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, bound for Saint Lucia. A brisk northerly wind and blue sky, provided perfect conditions for a downwind start and a swift departure for the first part of the passage across the Atlantic. The 235 boats and 1,188 people including 26 aged under 18, are sailing in this year’s edition of the world’s most popular Transocean rally.
The weather forecast suggests moderate north-easterly trade winds for the first few days, enabling the boats to make good mileage, although the fastest boats may experience lighter winds as they get closer to the Caribbean.
The ARC crossing record is 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds, set by Italian maxi yacht Capricorno (Rinaldo Del Bono), in 2006. Trimaran Rayon Vert (FRA) could potentially make the crossing in nine to 11 days, assuming the wind holds, and Med Spirit (RUS) are also keen to set a new record.

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