When I saw Martinique on the horizon, it was a barely discernible gray strip, looking something like a squall. It was the first piece of land I had seen in 16 days. Soon, we spotted St. Lucia off the port bow, and began to prepare for our arrival. With the sun setting, we cruised across the finish line at the entrance of Rodney Bay—2,794 nautical miles, 16 days, nine hours, six minutes, and 46 seconds after crossing the starting line off the coast of Las Palmas. We had crossed the Atlantic, 72nd of the 209 boats that completed the 2009 ARC. As we dropped our sails, we were met by World Cruising Club representatives who led us to our berth at IGY Rodney Bay, hopped out and caught our lines, and handed us each an ice-cold rum punch— welcome to St. Lucia.
That night we enjoyed food and drink with our fellow ARC participants as cheers rang out and horns blared to greet new arrivals. None of us aboard Snark had done any major offshore sailing trips prior to the ARC. We had pushed our comfort limit, and accomplished something that we had only dreamed about.
I don’t know if I’ll ever sail across an ocean again. I don’t know if I’ll ever again watch the sun rise off the port quarter while the moon sets off the starboard bow, or watch the plankton glow fluorescent in the waves, or stare for miles at nothing but the deep, dark ocean… But I do know this—in 2009 I had one of the greatest experiences of my life crossing the Atlantic Ocean with two amazing gentlemen and one terrific boat and, and I’ll never forget it.
As of this writing the ARC 2010 entry list is full, but adventurers seeking a solo berth aboard an ARC vessel should visit the World Cruising Club’s free Crewing Opportunities forum at www.worldcruising.com/forum/default.aspx. To sign up for the 2011 ARC, visit www.worldcruising.com/arc for the entry form and event details.