Amongst the crews were many nationalities, backgrounds and reasons for taking part. Since then, they have sailed well over 26,000 nautical miles, crossed 3 oceans and visited over 17 countries.
As they arrived back in Saint Lucia, it is difficult to make any such distinctions – they have become one unified group who have achieved their dream together.
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. 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 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 party in the evening, with superb food, at the Royal Saint Lucia hotel in Rodney Bay which was a splendid way to end 15 months of challenge, excitement and fun.
A common question at the end of a “bucket list” experience such as World ARC is to ask for the highlights of the trip. The crews have been spoilt with some beautiful, fascinating and welcoming places all around the globe and it is a difficult question to answer honestly.
But with all those memories and pictures stored away to recall later, even just trying to answer the question is a very enjoyable experience!
The adventure is just about to begin for the crews of the more than 45 entries who have signed up for the next edition of World ARC, departing Saint Lucia in January 2014. The rally provides practical support in port and at sea, the camaraderie of a close group of fellow cruisers, and a structure that provides peace of mind.
“Given our experience, we would not have felt confident doing this on our own – the World ARC gave us the opportunity to fulfil our dream of a circumnavigation,” explained Mark & Janet Gorell on board At Last from the 2012 rally.
Demand for organised cruising continues to increase and World ARC will become an annual event from 2014. To continue to push boundaries and help sailors explore new cruising adventures, World Cruising Club has recently announced a new route option.
Boats joining the 2015 rally can choose a southern “cold water route” taking on the adventure of rounding the southern tip of South America. Leaving Europe in late 2014 the fleet will sail from Portugal to Brazil via Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verdes.
Heading south the cruise calls at Uruguay and Argentina before exploring the Beagle Channel and Chilean Canals. With two months to explore Patagonia there is plenty of time to enjoy this unique wilderness before heading out across the Pacific via Easter Island, Pitcairn and Gambier to meet up with the “warm water route” fleet in Tahiti.