It is mixed feelings for the crew and for the majority of them it is unbelievable that they are back in St Lucia and 15 months have already passed. “The Caribbean is always a beautiful place for sailing. St Lucia is the only place on our route we came to twice. We were here at the beginning and now have come back to our home,” a crew member said.
In opening statements event coordinator of World ARC, Suzanna Burrca, who was at the reception at Palm Pavilion at Discovery, Marigot Bay last Friday, echoed sentiments of crew members who recently completed the World ARC 2013. Special guests in attendance included Minister of Tourism, Lorne Theophilus; and Director of the St Lucia Tourist Board, Louis Lewis.
In welcoming everyone Lewis said: “Since the last time I saw you a lot of things have happened. We have a new Minister of Tourism, I have a bigger desk in my office and I am still puzzled as to how you can find 15 months in your life to go around the world racing. You are obviously braver people than I am.”
He went on to say: “On behalf of the St Lucia Tourist Board I would like to welcome you back. Hopefully some of you will be participating in the next one taking place, so I will be welcoming you again in another 15 months when you come back. You all seem to be a very happy bunch of people and maybe one day, I’ll find the courage to spend time out at sea!”
World ARC event manager, Paul Tetlow, referred to the World Arc as a marathon, exciting sailing event. What impressed him the most was the camaraderie among crew members, which was practically nonexistent when the fleet left St Lucia in January 2012 on their individual yachts, preparing to go around the world. Along the route things changed.
Tetlow said: “Having returned to St Lucia there was no longer a distinction between those different groups of people on the yachts. We became a fleet that socialized, mixed and looked out for each other while at sea.”
When asked if there were any mishaps along the route he replied: “There were plenty of things which maybe didn’t go the way we wanted on the boats and on shore, but that is what adds to the challenge of going around the world.”
Amongst the crews were many nationalities, backgrounds and reasons for taking part. They sailed well over 26,000 nautical miles, crossed three oceans and visited over 17 countries. As they arrived back in St Lucia, it is difficult to make any such distinctions —they have become a unified group who achieved their dream together.
The parade of sail and official prize giving ceremony last Saturday provided a fitting finish to the adventure. The fleet paraded up the coast of St Lucia accompanied by local boats, members of the St Lucia Yacht Club, media and supporters of World ARC in St Lucia. On crossing the ceremonial finish line in Rodney Bay, the crews and those looking on cheered and congratulated one another. There was high emotion on the dock and at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina. Later that evening the St Lucia Tourist Board held another reception for World ARC 2012-13, this time at the Royal St Lucian hotel in Rodney Bay.
The next edition of the World ARC starts off in St Lucia in January 2014 with 45 entries.having signed on. Demand for organized cruising continues to increase and World ARC will become an annual from 2014.
A scene from World ARC 2012-13 with Pigeon Island in the background.