It was not a homecoming but it sure seemed like it, as ARC + participants were made to feel right at home at Saturday’s Welcome Cocktail at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina and at Wednesday’s Prize Giving Ceremony at Pigeon Island.
Officials at Saturday’s Welcome Cocktail included Minister of Tourism, Dominic Fedee; Operations Manager for World Cruising Club, Andy Bristow; Chief Executive Officer of Events Company of St Lucia, Thomas Leonce; and General Manager of the IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Sean Devaux. The Mistress of Ceremony was Mineva Ross.
First to arrive in St Lucia on November 26 was Altair, after a fast passage from Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands crossing the finish line at 3:48 am, making an elapsed time of 10 days, 17 hours, 48 minutes and 32 seconds.
After welcoming everyone, Leonce spoke about seeing firsthand the ARC participants leave Les Palmas and what a thrill and eye opener it was, to see what took place there. He told participants not to restrict themselves to the marina, but take the opportunity to explore St Lucia to see what it is all about.
During his brief remarks, Devaux said: “IGY Rodney Marina in collaboration with the World Cruising Club and St Lucia Events Committee welcome you to St Lucia. From IGY’s point of view we would like to thank the World Cruising Club and St Lucia Events Committee and the sponsors, for putting on a great event year after year. But most importantly, we would really like to thank the participants because without you this event would not be possible, so I think you need to give yourselves a huge round of applause.”
Bristow welcomed the sailors to St Lucia. He made mention of the other participants who have not yet arrived, wished them well and expected them at the prize giving ceremony which took place at Pigeon Island on Wednesday.
Minister Fedee got a rousing round of applause after telling the ARC + participants “Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the best island in the world.”
He applauded the St Lucia Tourist Board and World Cruising Club “for working very hard to put on what is one of the most fantastic events.”
He added: “I am so really pleased and it is so important to us, our people and our economy. I know you don’t like to be called tourists, because you are explorers, you’re yachts people but we count you as tourism.”
Following the minister’s remarks patrons did take advantage of what St Lucia had to offer, most notably from our brewery and St Lucia Distillers.