Royal Cork's Stephen Hyde sailing A Lady (Avoidng the Recesssion in Style blog here) was among 200 yachts arriving at Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia over the past two and a half weeks, and the celebration on Saturday 19 December, marked the close of the 2009 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.
Upwards of 600 participants and their families attended the prizegiving ceremony at the Gaiety Nightclub, just outside the Rodney Bay Marina in Gros Islet, to applaud the winners and mark the achievements of all the crews.
Hyde finihed 19th in a fleet of 29 in the cruising division. Results here.
ARC 2009 departed from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 22 November. There are 210 yachts on the official entry list.
The finish destination is Rodney Bay Marina in St Lucia, a distance of 2,700 nautical miles from Las Palmas and it is a passage that will take most of the yachts between 18 and 21 days.
Whilst fundamentally a fun rally for cruising yachts, the ARC does have a more serious Racing Division, run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).
After two weeks of daily activities and nightly entertainment, Saturday evening was the culmination of the rally. The atmosphere at Rodney Bay Marina has been buzzing all week, as the tension mounted before the announcement of the winners. Many of the yacht crew have been anxiously awaiting the evening, pouring over the handicap formulas and calculating who might win the big prizes.
Prizes were awarded in many categories, including 1st through 4th place trophies for each class. The closest competition was among the racing yachts, but, as the ARC was designed over 24 years ago with the cruising sailor in mind, the evening was not all about competing. Other, less traditional categories included 'Best Cruising Log,' 'Best Fishing Story,' 'Oldest / Youngest Skipper,' and more bizarrely, 'Best basil plant to survive a transat.'
Not unsurprisingly there was a standing ovation for the crew of Silver Bear for their shadowing of another yacht, Star Fire, for a distance of some 2,000 nautical miles following the latter's rudder loss. Their selfless assistance, delaying their own arrival by several days, was a fine example of the comradeship of the sea, and earned them the much coveted "Spirit of the ARC" award for 2009.
The full list of ARC 2009 results and prize winners is available via the ARC website at: www.worldcruising.com/arc/results.aspx .The entry list is open for 2010 and already over 70 yachts have registered for what will be a very special year, marking the 25th edition of the ARC.