Fifteen months ago the World ARC 2014-15 fleet set out from Saint Lucia to sail around the world. Amongst the crews were many nationalities, backgrounds and reasons for taking part.
Since then, the crews have sailed well over 26,000 nautical miles, crossed three oceans and visited more than 17 countries. As they arrived back in Saint Lucia on Sunday, they joined the special band of circumnavigators who have sailed the world on their own boats and, perhaps more importantly, become a family bonded together by hundreds of shared experiences to last a lifetime of reflection.The Parade of Sail and official prize giving ceremony provided a fitting finish to the adventure. The fleet paraded up the coast of Saint Lucia accompanied by local boats, members of the Saint Lucia Yacht Club, media and supporters of World ARC in Saint Lucia.
After a morning of light showers, the Caribbean sun beamed down as the fleet crossed the ceremonial finish line in Rodney Bay. The crews and those looking on cheered and congratulated one another as champagne corks popped in celebration of the occasion. There was high emotion on the dock and at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina drinks reception afterwards. It was only a matter of time before many of the crews spontaneously jumped into the marina swimming pool to cool down!
The Saint Lucia Tourist Board provided a really enjoyable prize giving reception in the evening, and crews were welcomed back to Saint Lucia by the Honourable Lorne Theophilius, Minister for Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries in Saint Lucia who said how pleased he was to see World ARC’s return to the country’s shores. The evening of celebration continued with superb food, and after-dinner dancing late into the night which was a splendid way to end 15 months of challenge, excitement and fun.
The crews have been spoilt with some beautiful, fascinating and welcoming places all around the globe but speaking on the dockside, all agreed that it will be their friends from the rally that they will miss most as they go their separate ways. Exploring the world together as a ‘World ARC family’ has made all those experiences into truly special memories to be treasured for years to come.
Since 2014, the World ARC has been an annual rally with starts each year in Saint Lucia and Australia. The World ARC 2015 fleet is currently cruising the Marquesas and Tuamotus for the next rendezvous in Tahiti and in the past four months crews have settled into life exploring the Pacific islands.
Meanwhile away from these idyllic surroundings, the adventure is just beginning for those planning their future circumnavigations with World Cruising Club. Entries are open for two forthcoming editions – World ARC 2016 and World ARC 2017, including the option to explore South America via the Cold Water Route. Yachts can join in Saint Lucia (January) or in Australia (September), and sail a half rally or make the whole circumnavigation. Boats can also take a year out to explore Australasia and join the next edition to complete their circumnavigation.
Planning a round-the-world adventure takes time. World Cruising Club uses experience gained over five editions of World ARC to help and support participants to set sail safely and well prepared. Many future ralliers attended World Cruising Club seminars this spring in Guildford, UK and Annapolis, USA, some taking their first steps in preparing for life afloat whilst others will be casting off their lines in just eight months’ time.
For more information about future editions of World ARC, visit www.worldcruising.com/world_arc