TWENTY six boats will set sail from Rodney Bay today for Santa Marta on the first leg of this year’s World ARC. The crossing is expected to be quick as the boats will take around five days to reach Marina Santa Marta.
Officials from World Cruising Club, government, representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and members of the media will be on Reel Extreme to witness the official start of the event.
Saint Lucia Tourist Board representative Charmain Joseph said: “A further four boats will join the fleet to transit the Panama Canal assisted by World Cruising Club as part of ARC Panama”.
In total 36 boats and over 250 people will take part in World ARC 2017-18; some sailing the full 26,000 nautical miles, others will join the fleet for several stages. Four boats will join them for ARC Panama. After transiting the Panama Canal, they will visit the Pacific islands of the Galapagos, Marquesas, Society Islands, Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu en route to Mackay in Queensland, Australia.
Following a cruise up the Great Barrier Reef, the rally will visit Bali, and then cross the southern Indian Ocean, stopping at Cocos, Mauritius and Reunion before going to South Africa.
The various boats are sailing under the flags of 10 nations, with 16 countries represented amongst the crew.
Like previous years, seminars, safety inspections and social events took place in Rodney Bay earlier this week to ensure the various crews were prepared and excited for the 15-month adventure of a lifetime which lies ahead of them.
In January 2018 they will depart across the Atlantic for Brazil, with a stopover in Saint Helena. The boats will cruise up the Brazilian coast for carnival, then head to Grenada before finishing in Saint Lucia in April.