All posts by yachtmadmonkey

Having sailed for 25+ years both racing and cruising my fun of sailing grows with every trip. The love of the sea, it's content (meaning I'm a keen fisherman too!) and the challenge it offers keeps making me return. This circumnavigation will full fill 1 of my goals ~~ to setup, navigate and sail around the world with crew and yacht in total safety... What more could I ask for ?

Santa Marta – Colombia

The first stop of World ARC 2018! After a fun sail there with strong and constant winds, we had a week to relax in Santa Marta enjoying a city tour, sundowners, a coffee plantation tour, a beach party and lots of steak!

We believe Santa Marta is an up an coming tourist resort for non-Colombian residents, the development going on there is impressive! We felt like celebrities as we were introduced to journalists and photographers upon arrival!

Santa Marta – Colombia

Santa Marta… The first stop in our World ARC adventure! The place where you get surrounded by armed security when going to the gas station and find steaks the cheapest dish on the menu.

We arrived at 0800 hrs after motoring the last 10 hours due to autopilot failure. Nothing too serious, the pin connecting it to the steering quadrant came off. Overall it took us just under 5 days as we departed Saint Lucia for a 1200hrs start line. We were also full of fish as we caught a 100lbs blue marlin on the way!

The first thing which struck us was the cheapness and quality of the food; unusually steaks became the most popular dish on the menu! In the mountains of Colombia they rear cows so this makes it a cheap commodity.

After spending the day on a tour around the city showing us San Pedro Alejandrino Village, a gold museum and a historic cathedral, our first rally event was the welcome party hosted by the marina and the tourist board; the attendance by local press, government ministers and army officials made us feel very valued and that our visit was helping the local community massively. However, we weren’t sure whether being surrounded by armed police boats were meant to make us feel safe?! Also, when the rally huddled together for a photo we didn’t expect to be smiling for 15 different magazines and news channels! Moreover, Nick (or death as the media called him) shot to fame as his interview got broadcasted on national TV).

Saturday was a great day as minibuses were organised to transport the World ARC fleet to Tayrona National Park were we would spend the day having fun by the beach, snorkelling, swimming, getting to know other rally competitors and enjoying a BBQ. Regrettably, the multihulls beat the monohulls in a tug-of-war competition.

On Sunday, Josh took a charitable visit to a local school where they run the “Fundemac step by step programme” whilst the rest of the crew continued with boat jobs and went food provisioning. The school visit was a real eye opener and highlighted the difference in European education. This school is run by a charity and takes mostly orphaned children from the Colombian rainforest who don’t have access to an education and often aren’t familiar with how modern civilisation works. The results are tremendous and we were welcomed by one ex-student who is now studying for a PhD.

The whole crew were looking forward to Monday as this was the coffee plantation tour in La Victoria. The experience started with 4×4 army jeeps transporting us up the rocky paths to the plantation 3000ft above sea level. Once there, both the complementary coffee and plantation tour was very informative. The setup is very traditional and few electricity cables in sight; we do question the health and safety standards though as we were guided past fast paced belts and chambers with fire roaring out of them!

The final day entailed the Skippers briefing and the farewell party. The food and the local entertainment were great and it seemed a fitting way to say goodbye to Colombia.

Saint Lucia

We arrived in St Lucia after our 20 day crossing, overwhelmed and ready to celebrate. We touched down on the pontoon just after 2000hrs, greeted by a representative from the tourist board and St Lucian government, a selection of yellow shirts and friends that we had made in Las Palmas who had beat us to the finish line. It wasn’t long until we finished our rum punches and hit the boardwalk to free ourselves from the strict drinking policy held on board, soon followed by a pizza and a few  (quite a few) more drinks!

One of the reasons we signed up to do the ARC was the comradeship involved, this is definitely illuminated when a new boat arrives having finished their passage. It’s almost quite emotional when neighbouring sailors’ crowd around the pontoon ready to take the lines and blow their foghorns when a new boat arrives to share all their stories.

As well as the numerous arrival parties, we have managed to get out and participate in the local events. We have enjoyed a catamaran trip to Anse La Reye to the fish fry where locals dress up in carnival gear and others cooked meat and fish on BBQs on the side of the road. Another event is the weekly ‘Fish Jump Up’ held just around the corner in Gros Islet, an event which can be heard from the marina! Essentially it is a big Caribbean street party put on by the locals with exceptionally loud music, drink and fresh food.

Once ARC 2017 finished with a fantastic and joyous awards evening, we left our berth in Rodney Bay and took a trip for a couple of days to Martinique with Dan, an Atlantic sailor we got on well with and let him sail with us. We feel this is a very well developed country and very similar to France. After this we sailed down to the beautiful Marigot Bay and anchored here for a night. Sheltered by the wind, blue waters, sandy beaches and surrounded by palm trees this is very much the picturesque Caribbean which lots of people talk about. The day after we had a minibus tour around Soufriere to see the volcano, mud baths and waterfall, again, very pretty! This was topped off with a drink in the local Rasta bar and a local haircut, which, was a new experience!

Christmas was spent on the beach with some of our sailing friends, playing beach games and enjoying the sunshine. We found a local chef to cook for us and deliver it to the beach which delivered exactly what we desired… A Christmas celebrated like the locals!

Next, we have New Year around the corner and we have booked into the local cocktail bar for a night which promises to be unforgettable; we are going with about 20 of our new sailing friends, many from different countries!

Saint Lucia

We’ve arrived! Go to ‘Gallery of events/South America/Saint Lucia’ to see what we got up to immediately after touching ground having crossed the Atlantic.

Saint Lucia was a great island! Very pretty, friendly locals and a VERY different way of life… Ya Man

Here we shared Christmas and New Year with new sailing friends, this made crossing the Atlantic very special and this was definitely a festive season to remember!