There are currently 38 yachts being 'geared up' to carry their crews on a world circumnavigation and cruising adventure of a lifetime in the World ARC 2010/11, organised and run by World Cruising Club (WCC).
The East to West circumnavigation begins in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean in January 2010, and during the year visits Panama, Ecuador, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Fiji, Australia, Bali, Mauritius, Reunion Island and South Africa. In 2011, the rally then crosses the South Atlantic via St Helena, to Brazil and then visits Grenada before arriving back in Saint Lucia in March 2011, 15 months after the journey began.
In this second edition of World ARC, the participating fleet is as internationally varied as the countries being visited. There are yachts representing 19 different national flags and an even greater number of nationalities within the crews. The largest contingent is from Germany with eight yachts entered, then the UK with seven and, whilst many of the boats are from Europe or the USA, there are also yachts from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia taking part.
Why now? Why not!
It is always interesting to learn more about why people sign up for these long-term cruising adventures at this stage in their lives. As well as a mixture of nationalities, these crews come from of a range of backgrounds and have varied reasons for doing a circumnavigation.
Some participants are taking a break from their businesses to complete World ARC, whilst others are cruising around the world in retirement. Then there are yachts such as Ciao, Tucanon and Voyageur, that are crewed by couples 'double-handing', and taking on extra crew for some passages, whilst others will be crewed by a larger number of family and friends. The crew of Ronja, for example is made up of the Ruud family from Norway. Their teenage children will continue their studies whilst travelling around the world. Some skippers are also seeking crew to join them for particular legs of the voyage.
On the west side of the Atlantic, many of the USA flagged boats are on the eastern coast of the US or already in the Caribbean. Jim & Angela Geddes (Ocean Jasper) and Joe & Judith Metz (Brown-Eyed Girl) will be sailing south this autumn with the Caribbean 1500 Rally from Hampton VA to Nanny Cay, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
Full briefings and social programme
Around one third of the yachts starting in the Caribbean will travel across with World Cruising Club's ARC 2009 starting in November, with the remainder of the fleet making rendezvous in Saint Lucia.
As with all World Cruising Club events, the programme for the start will include safety equipment checks, a number of parties and activities so the fleet can get to know one another and seminars and briefings to help further prepare participants for their travels. The World ARC fleet will depart Saint Lucia on 6th January 2010.
In the early part of the circumnavigation they will visit the tranquil San Blas Islands and transit the awe-inspiring Panama Canal – the gateway to the Pacific. The yachts will then visit Ecuador, before sailing onto the Galapagos Islands.
Armchair adventurers can follow the World ARC fleet progress and the crews' experiences along the way via the boat logs and image galleries on the event website. Periodic reports will also feature in future editions of World Cruising Club Magazine.