Saint Lucia (December 5, 2012) – Now that the 27th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is underway, preparations are in high gear on Saint Lucia to receive the first set of vessels expected to cross the finish line at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina by the second week of December.
Over 226 boats and 1269 people, 43 of whom are children under the age of 16, are participating in the event that will end here for a record 22 times. Eighty-five different boat brands/builders are represented in the fleet this year, making it one of the most diverse for some time.
The ARC brings significant economic and tourism dollars to Saint Lucia every December, and in return provides participating mariners with the perfect Caribbean getaway destination.
“Over the years that ARC has been hosted in Saint Lucia, it has brought over 4200 yachts to island’s shores with over 22,000 visitors during that same time period. On average ARC participants and their supporting families spend over 1.5 Million US dollars per year as direct expenditure to the economy of Saint Lucia, says Deputy Director of Tourism Tracey Warner Arnold.
As a means of signaling their continued commitment and support for the ARC, several corporate entities presented their sponsorship cheques to officials of the three main organizing bodies – World Cruising Club, IGY Rodney Bay Marina and the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, at a ceremony on December 5th at the Bay Gardens Hotel.
The fastest race boats are expected to make landfall after 12 days, but with favorable winds, Capricorno’s (ITA) ARC crossing record of 11 days, 5 hours and 32 minutes set in 2006 may yet be beaten.
“Every boat will be welcomed on arrival (day or night) with much fanfare and treated to a basket of local fruits, chilled beers and rum punches,” says Warner-Arnold. This warm Saint Lucian welcome she says, “Is just the start of the festivities ashore, with the whole community getting involved with the activities planned.”
To commemorate the 22 year local history of the ARC, several new calendar events have been added on. They include Fete Kweyol on National Day, December 13th from 1pm in the ARC Village at Rodney Bay. This Creole party will feature a mélange of traditional Saint Lucian music, dance, drama, foods and showpieces from Saint Lucia’s rich heritage and will involve groups such as the Eastern Folk Band; Helen Folk Dancers; Masquerade, Toes and Saint Lucian drummers.
Digicel’s Jazz & Blues Cabaret will kick off on December 15th from 7pm and will highlight Saint Lucia’s jazzy rhythms and jamming blues. The concert will feature performing groups such as Black Antz; the Saint Lucia School of Music jazz band and renowned guitarist Carl Gustave.
On December 16th from 4pm, an ARC Steelpan Playoff will be held at the ARC Village. Pan enthusiasts are being encouraged to join the ARC participants as four top Saint Lucia steel bands (Diamond Steel, Harmonites, North Stars and Babboneau Steel Orchestra) battle for the People’s Choice Award. The popular radio promotion ‘Chart the ARC’ will also take place this year.
The final festivity of ARC 2012 is the awards ceremony on December 21, which rewards the fastest boats and special categories like ‘Spirit of the ARC’.
Presenting sponsors of the ARC are World Cruising Club, IGY Rodney Bay Marina and the Saint Lucia Tourist Board; Platinum sponsor is Digicel St. Lucia Limited; Gold sponsor is Heineken; Silver sponsors are the Wave and SOL EC Limited; Bronze sponsors are Chairman’s Reserve, Bay Walk Mall, Crystal Clear, LUCELEC, Mega J’s, Columbian Emeralds, and Rent A Ride; Collateral sponsor is GL Foodmarket.
For more information about the island of Saint Lucia visit http://stlucianow.ca, call 1-800-869-0377 or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaintLuciaTouristBoard.