Sunday, December 24, 2017

ARC Atlantic Arrives St Lucia!

J/133 sailing ARC Atlantic 2017 to St Lucia (Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia)- Three weeks to the day since the ARC fleet slipped their lines in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, a steel drum serenade is continually echoing around the docks of IGY Rodney Bay Marina. The initial trickle of arrivals has become a constant stream, with the berths, bars, restaurants and marine services steadily filling up as ARC yachts flow in. Friends are reunited, families greet their loved ones, and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority are keeping the arriving crews in fine fare with a welcome rum punch on the dock and a basket of goodies for them to enjoy.

The ARC 2017 fleet has had a particularly challenging year to reach the Caribbean, with the crossing taking longer than anticipated for many yachts. Arriving in Rodney Bay feels like an extra special achievement as crews have seen ‘a bit of everything’ in terms of weather, and some serious seamanship has helped them reach the Caribbean shores. Daily chats on the SSB Radio Nets have provided plenty of entertainment and competitive banter and each arrival is emotionally greeted by fellow windswept, sun-kissed sailors before the conversation inevitably moves to the Boardwalk Bar to compare top speeds, fishing triumphs and breakages along the way over a cold beer or two

The 2017 edition of the ARC Atlantic attracted nearly 200 boats and 1,200 people to sail 2,700nm across the Atlantic from Gran Canary Island (Spain) to Saint Lucia situated in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean.  Those sailing directly from Las Palmas have been playing the weather game, with a split fleet between northern and southern routes during their first week at sea when a low pressure to the west of the Azores, and to the north of the rhumb line, affected the seasonal ENE winds in the central north Atlantic. Most boats later dived south where crews have since been rewarded with some great tradewind sailing.

The lone J/crew participating in this year’s event, the J/133 JACKY X owned and skippered by Gerard Feenema from The Netherlands, sailed well in Cruising Division D, a nineteen-boat fleet comprised of mostly 45 to 55 footers.  In the end, Feenema’s crew enjoyed their passage and finished 6th boat-for-boat and second on handicap.  Like everyone else, after a bit of “R&R” in St Lucia, it will be time to enjoy the rest of the winter season in the Caribbean for this happy Dutch crew!  For more World Cruising- ARC Atlantic sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.