Saint Lucia’s yachting authorities are set to welcome the prestigious Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), an annual transatlantic sailing event for cruisers, which starts this month in the Canary Islands and ends before Christmas in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia’s Director of Yachting, Cuthbert Didier, was pleased to report that the island’s yachting facilities remain strong and resilient following the passage of Hurricane Tomas last month.
“Our yachting berths both in Rodney Bay and Marigot Bay are not only state-of-art, they are resilient, and yachtsmen and women can rest assured that the solid infrastructure and legendary hospitality for which Saint Lucia is known await them this December,” said Didier who is attached to Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Organized by the World Cruising Club, the Atlantic Rally is the largest trans-ocean sailing event in the world and regularly attracts more than 200 boats of many different shapes and sizes. The journey takes between two to three weeks aided by trade winds and covers more than 2,700 nautical miles.
“Marigot Bay’s reputation as the Eastern Caribbean’s best natural Hurricane Hole was strengthened by its resilience to Hurricane Tomas,” reported Bob Hathaway, Manager of The Marina at Marigot Bay.
“The marina was packed with yachts seeking shelter and no damage was sustained despite gusts of up to 92 miles per hour during the passage of the eye of the storm just south of Marigot,” asserted Hathaway.
The Discovery Hotel, like most properties on the island, also emerged unscathed, “because of the exceptional infrastructure of the Bay and the spirit of the local community. The hotel remains open and fully functional and we look forward to building on our reputation of providing exceptionally high levels of service and customer care,” he added.
Located on the north side of the island, Rodney Bay Marina sustained no damage due to the mountains and hills that surround it, also making it a safe hurricane hole for boats to dock. Several boats from the outer bay came into the marina for shelter, and it was almost at full occupancy for the duration of the hurricane. The marina experienced 45-mile per hour wind speeds, and no damage was sustained to any boats due to the hurricane.
In support of those affected by the hurricane, primarily residents in the south of the island, IGY Rodney Bay Marina is acting as a drop-off zone for the Red Cross for donations and aid to be given to volunteers to distribute appropriately. The marina is accepting dry and canned food as well as sanitary goods from the public and its staff. Island Global Yachting is donating a significant amount itself.
Crews taking part in this year’s ARC are being asked to carry canned foods and dry goods to help needy Saint Lucian communities.