Ocean race to promote St Lucia as yachting destination

The Caribbean island will host the launch weekend of the Atlantic Rally for Cruises this November

PARADISE: A yacht cruiser sails pass the Pitons in St Lucia

ST LUCIA Tourism Authority, headed by its UK arm, has teamed up with the World Cruising Club to host the launch weekend November 15 – 17 for the Atlantic Rally for Cruises (ARC), the annual ocean race from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria to St Lucia. 

The ARC weekend will include a welcome reception, opening parade of the vessels and an evening party for the participants before they set sail to the Caribbean.

The Atlantic rally will bring together a diverse group of boats and crews to sail with the historic ocean rally celebrating its 34th edition in 2019. It is regarded as the largest Transocean rally and also the most eclectic with sailors on all sizes of budget, all ages and on all types of boats joining in to cross the Atlantic on the trade-winds.

In the last few years, St Lucia Tourism Authority has used the launch weekend as a great opportunity to promote the island’s tourism product and has also encouraged St Lucians in the diaspora to attend and participate in the two-day activities. Many have got on board and last year had the largest participation so far as the visitors from the UK and the locals had a memorable St Lucian themed party weekend.

This year’s event is expected to be even bigger and support for the Las Palmas event to be a great weekend for St Lucians and friends of St Lucia to get involved has come from high commissioner to the UK Guy Mayers. 

He said: “I travelled to Gran Canaria last year to join in the pre-departure activities and wish the teams well as they set off to St Lucia. As a nation, we take great pride in the warmth and friendliness of our people. 

“We’ve been told by previous participants in the ARC that the celebratory reception they receive when they arrive in St Lucia is unique and makes the whole event incredibly special. My wife and I are heading out to Gran Canaria again this year and I urge the St Lucians in the UK diaspora to join us to show their support by giving the teams a grand St Lucian send off.”

SCENIC: The famous Soufriere Piton view with palm trees in St Lucia

At last year’s event, St Lucia’s minister of tourism, information and creative Industries Dominic Fedee, attended the launch weekend and he is also expected to be present again for the 34th staging of the Transocean rally.

Patricia Charlery-Leon, SLTA director of UK and Ireland has also encouraged St Lucians to get involved with the Las Palmas fun weekend which helps to promote St Lucia as a leading yachting destination. 

She said: “The ARC event has been running for 30 years now. What makes it so successful is that it’s for everyone. Each year, we see such a broad range of people taking part to cross the Atlantic to St Lucia. It’s truly a global event in terms of participants and supporters and has done a great deal to boost the island’s profile. With the ARC starting from Gran Canaria, it’s a wonderful opportunity for our diaspora community to join in the activities such as the St Lucian evening party and the opening parade to have some fun ahead of the ocean crossing. “

World Cruising Club, organisers of the Atlantic Rally for Cruises, has also announced the twelve crew members who have been selected to sail on board the ARC Youth Team yacht as part of the 2019 Transocean rally.   

The initiative brings together ambitious young people from Gran Canaria, St Lucia and the UK to sail across the Atlantic on board a Tall Ships Youth Trust 72 foot Challenger yacht, supported by a professional skipper and mate and experienced watch leaders. 

All aged from 18 to 30, the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean will be an incredible adventure for the young participants, and one that they will all remember for the rest of their lives. It will also be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the youngsters to develop their essential life skills for tomorrow.

Funding for the initiative has been raised from benefactors in Gran Canaria and St Lucia with a philanthropic interest in supporting these young people enhance their skills. World Cruising Club is financially supporting two of the selected crew as well as co-ordinating the planning and logistics of the project. 

This is a special year for the ARC’s arrival in St Lucia as the island celebrates the 40th anniversary of the nation’s independence and the 30th consecutive year that the rally has arrived in Rodney Bay.

Abbot Travel is the main booking agent for the Las Palmas weekend and packages will include flights and accommodation. For more information visit: www.abbot.travel

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