St Lucian Captain in ARC
30 November 2021
St. Lucian boat captain Brad Gangardine is featuring prominently in this year’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC).
Brad, a Moorings Skipper from Soufriere, is assisting the owners of Discovery 50 Into the Mystic (USA) to bring the boat to Saint Lucia after meeting them on a charter holiday several years ago.
Brad is among 900 crew on 141 yachts making the 2700 nautical mile transatlantic voyage from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) to the IGY Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. Thirty six children under the age of 16 are also sailing in the ARC this year, the youngest being Hadrien Meister on yacht Olimir (CHE). She is 19-months old.
The ARC sailed off from Las Palmas on November 21. Saint Lucia has been home to the ARC for 32 years now. ARC 2021 will not only be recognized as one of the ‘safest events’ to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic but will also afford Saint Lucia, the host country, the opportunity to once again welcome familiar faces and newbies.
This year, the ARC welcomes back several yachts which have previously claimed line honours as the first to arrive in Saint Lucia. These include Banzaï (FRA), Minimole (ITA), Guyader Mext (FRA), and The Kid Ville de Nice (FRA). They will all be trying to beat their previous crossing times and be the first to finish. In the competitive Racing Division, yachts cannot use their engines for propulsion, unlike those in the Cruising Division which will look forward to a more comfortable crossing to the IGY Rodney Bay Marina.
“As the world learns to coexist with COVID-19, World Cruising Club is pleased to see a recovery in entry levels for the ARC this year. After what has been a difficult period for all of us there is no doubt that there is tremendous enthusiasm to sail across the Atlantic to enjoy sailing in the Caribbean. Saint Lucia is a hospitable landfall destination. Our partnerships with the IGY Rodney Bay Marina, and other local sponsors are invaluable to the overall success of the ARC, especially this year as we continue to work with COVID protocols in place. We want to particularly thank ECSL and SLTA for providing the logistical, operational and marketing support, as well as promotion of the ARC, year after year.” Andrew Bishop – Managing Director, World Cruising Club.
Events Company of Saint Lucia Inc. (ECSL) in collaboration with Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), and the IGY Rodney Bay Marina, guided by the Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs – will welcome the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers fleets to Saint Lucia from early December.
An exciting programme of activities awaits Captain Brad and all ARC participants. Speaking just before the ARC sailed off from Las Palmas on Sunday November 21, Brad said: “It feels awesome. I am looking forward to heading back home. I’m about to achieve an amazing dream. I’m hoping to get the amazing welcome that all ARC sailors get when they arrive at the Rodney Bay Marina. I’m sure I will feel good about what I’ve done.”
Each boat and its crew will be greeted with a Welcome Cocktail on arrival at the Rodney Bay Marina. They will also receive a Welcome Basket with fresh local produce, which they will learn how to prepare, during one of the Cooking Demos on the Green at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina. The popular Farmers Market will also be a feature of this year’s ARC.
Yachtees will get to sample local rums and cocktails prepared by some of the island’s top bartenders. Live entertainment is also on the program for ARC 2021. Restaurants in the Rodney Bay Marina have also planned various Theme Nights for ARC participants. ARC 2021 will culminate with a Prize Giving Ceremony. Sponsors for ARC 2021 are as follows: FLOW, The Wave Radio Station, and Sol EC – Gold Sponsors; SIXT Rent a Car – Silver Sponsor; Massy Stores, St. Lucia Distillers, Heineken Saint Lucia, and Lucian Style – Bronze Sponsors.
Immediately following ARC 2021, ECSL, SLTA and the IGY Rodney Bay Marina will begin preparing for ‘ARC January’ which sails-off on January 9th 2022, from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with boats scheduled to arrive in Saint Lucia 14 days later. ARC January will follow the same navigational route as the December ARC. 60 boats have already registered for this adventure. The introduction of this new component will attract more visitors to the island for a longer stay. Since the ARC is in December, most of the participants travel back home to be with their families for Christmas and New Year's Eve. However, with the festive season over, participants of ARC January are expected to stay on island a little longer.