The World ARC 2020
After a particularly enjoyable round the world voyage in 2014, sailing with World ARC for the Pacific legs and then into Asia, Skyelark then sailed the whole way round the world as part of the World ARC 2017/2018.
This was a fantastic adventure and we are now taking bookings for going round again in 2020, across the Pacific to Australia and then heading up to Thailand via Indonesia and Malaysia. We will sail with World ARC as far as Fiji and then continue independently on to Asia. Contact us to book your place!
We will set off from St Lucia with the World ARC rally in January 2020. The route passes through the Panama Canal and then begins a fantastic cruise through the magical islands of the Pacific. We will leave World ARC in Fiji where we will have an extra month cruising through Fiji and Vanuatu before heading on to Australia. It's then onto Kupang and the start of an extended tour through the Indonesian Islands before heading north up to Malaysia and finishing our tour in Phuket, Thailand in December 2020.
Why the World ARC?
As part of an organised event everyone taking part benefits from the camaraderie of sharing this unique event with around 20 other yachts. As part of the rally many shoreside activities, tours and parties are included and of course the organisers know all the best anchorages and places to visit.
Each yacht is fitted with a satellite tracker and blogs and photos can be posted on the event website allowing friends and family back home to follow your adventures. On Skyelark we have broken down the trip into legs, each lasting around a month. Some are more cruising orientated, with shorter mileages to cover, some have a combination of longer passages mixed in with shorter cruises, whilst others are full ocean legs.
|9th Jan 2020||5th Feb 2020||Saint Lucia, Santa Marta, San Blas Islands, Panama Canal||1190nm||27||£4,500|
|7th Feb 2020||27th Feb 2020||Panama City, Las Perlas, Galapagos||940nm||20||Sold out!|
|3rd Mar 2020||27th Mar 2020||Galapagos, Marquesas||2980nm||24||£4,500|
|31st Mar 2020||26th Apr 2020||Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti||830nm||26||Sold out!|
|3rd May 2020||8th Jun 2020||Tahiti, Society Islands, Bora Bora, Suwarrow, Niue, Vavu'a, Tonga||1630nm||35||£5,200|
|12th Jun 2020||6th Jul 2020||Tonga, Fiji||580nm||24||Sold out!|
|11th Jul 2020||3rd Aug 2020||Fiji, Vanuatu||650nm||23||£4,500|
|7th Aug 2020||4th Sep 2020||Vanuatu cruise, Airlie Beach (Australia)||1320nm||28||Sold out!|
|Early Sep 2020||Early Oct 2020||Airlie Beach, Kupang (Indonesia)||2080nm||32||£4,500|
|Early Oct 2020||Early Nov 2020||Kupang, Bali||600nm||TBC||£4,500|
|Nov 2020||Dec 2020||Bali, Malaysia, Langkawi, Phuket (Thailand)||1600nm||TBC||£4,500|
* Discounts available for multiple legs.
Deposit of 25% due on booking, final balance due 4 months prior to joining.
|What's Included||What's Not Included|
|Entry cost to the World ARC (Legs 1-6)||WCC crew fees (£150, legs 1-6)|
|Customs, cruising permits and immigration costs||Personal visas (if required)|
|All onboard food and drink whilst on passage||Food/drink whilst in port|
|Organised tours, parties and events by WCC (Legs 1-6)||Flights/transfers|
|Satellite tracking, blogs and photos sent whilst at sea||Personal insurance|
Video Highlights from the 2014 World ARC
Starting from Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia we will set sail with the World ARC fleet on the 11th January, first stop Santa Marta 815nm away. We will have 5 days to explore this historic coastal town in Columbia before setting off for the San Blas Islands. Santa Marta offers great walking in the National Parks and mountains and a bustling town to explore. After a prizegiving dinner with the WARC group we will then sail to the San Blas Islands, a two day sail away. These islands are the home of the Kuna Indians and are really more like cays with fringing coral reefs offering protected anchorages. Most of the islands are uninhabited and you can enjoy the emerald clear water and white sandy beaches shaded by coconut palms.
We rendezvous with the other WARC yachts for a social get together, before taking the 80nm night sail across to Colon, Panama. Here we will have a few days in the marina making preparations for transiting the canal..
With 3 locks at either end, the Panama Canal was first opened in 1914. The French first attempted to build the canal in 1880 but gave up after around 21,000 workers died of Malaria and Yellow Fever. The Americans took on the project in the early 1900s and now there are plans to widen the canal further. World ARC representatives will help to organise all the paperwork and logistics of making the passage through the canal, meaning crews can be left to enjoy the whole experience.
Once through, we will be anchored off Panama City where Leg 1 of the journey ends.
Additional places may be available for the transit of the Panama Canal.
Joining on the 7th February in Panama, we will cruise down to the Las Perlas islands and have a couple of days exploring before meeting up with the other WARC yachts for the sail to Galapagos. We leave 12th February and the 850nm passage should take 6 days. This is a particularly special passage as it crosses the Equator, so the crew will need to pay homage to King Neptune in the traditional style!
After arriving in San Cristobal there will be plenty of time for exploring these legendary islands. A nature lover's paradise, you would expect to see sea lions, whales, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and masses of fish and sea birds. The diving, snorkeling and nature watching is world class. You can expect to swim with big mammals, sea lions hammer head sharks and even penguin. Onshore the traditional community is full of local flavour both socially and literally with fantastic fresh fish, fruit and vegetables.
During our time in the islands, Skyelark will be based in 3 main harbours on the islands of Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz – each one a day sail away. To protect the fragile eco system, yachts are not permitted to cruise freely. The best way to fully appreciate these islands is to take organised tours with local guides who will make sure you have the full experience. Our final destination will be Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where we will rendezvous with the other WARC yachts.
This is our main Pacific Ocean leg. We set sail with the WARC fleet on the 5th March from Santa Cruz in the Galapagos and the steady SE tradewinds should make for a fast and comfortable downwind passage. We should make landfall approximately 18 days later in Hiva Oa, Marquesas. Once there crew will have time to relax, explore and enjoy the laid back pace of island life and marvel at the stunning scenery.
This leg focuses much more on island hopping down through French Polynesia. We begin at Hiva Oa in the Marquesas and from there will spend a leisurely month cruising round the thousands of islands and atolls on offer. French Polynesia covers the largest sea area in the Pacific and these islands gave Darwin the ideas for his theory of how atolls form and his theory is still the one we use today.
The Marquesas consist of 6 large and 6 small islands, of which half are uninhabited. Great hikes, waterfalls, spectacular views, horseriding and island tours are all on offer here, as well as perfect sailing conditions. World ARC also organise a particularly memorable evening of local dancing and singing.
We will then head off for the Tuamotus, which stretch across a wide sea area positioned between the Marquesas and the Society Islands. Many of the atolls have pearl farms that grow black pearls which used to be the main source of income for the islanders, but now they rely on selling coconuts and fish! Unbroken circles of coral surrounding lagoons make for truly spectacular views. All sorts of marine life abound here including turtles, rays and exotic fish. With fringing reefs creating sheltered lagoons the crystal clear water is perfect for endless snorkelling.
The final stop is at Papeete in Tahiti, the largest of the Society Islands. Here we meet up again with the WARC fleet and have a chance to enjoy the 'benefits' of civilization!
Tahiti has become known as a typical South Seas island paradise. Whilst the main city of Papeete is bustling and well populated, the interior of the island is uninhabited, filled with jagged peaks and gorges all covered in lush tropical vegetation. Close by on Moorea there are opportunities for mountain hiking, island tours and snorkelling with rays. We will also visit Raiatea, Tahaa and Huahine before stopping off at Bora Bora, which has been known as the most beautiful island on earth. It has massive twin peaks which create a wonderful skyline. Beautiful anchorages sit within the surrounding barrier reef. For those adventurous types, you can conquer the mountain or an easier option would be to take a helicopter tour. Biking round the island is also a great way to explore.
We rendezvous with the other WARC yachts in Bora Bora on the 15th May and from there sail across in company to Suwarrow and then onto Niue. Suwarrow is an atoll only 9 miles by 11 which became known as a dream destination for those seeking a remote island on which to escape civilization. Tom Neale from New Zealand wrote a book describing his stay there as a hermit in the 1950s. It is an amazing place, home to a huge array of fish and the biggest manta rays you will have ever seen! A proper island paradise.
In contrast, Niue Island is part of New Zealand with an area of 100 square miles, making it the largest raised coral island in the world. There is much to explore ashore including massive lime stone caves which are present both inland and along the coast, some of them nearly a mile deep. Diving is superb with underwater visibility of 30m or more.
We conclude this leg in Vava'u in Tonga which is a 230 mile sail from Niue. This was our most popular leg in 2014 for a good reason!
For this leg of our Pacific journey, the main emphasis is on island hopping starting off by exploring Tonga before moving on to Fiji. We will concentrate on the Vava'u group to the North, where there are numerous idyllic anchorages to explore all close by, offering good snokelling, swimming and relaxing on the beach.
We will then move on to Fiji, a friendly and beautiful country. There are two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu as well as many other islands that are fringed by coral reefs creating a fascinating cruising ground. Meeting the locals and being welcomed into their community is all part of the Fiji experience. We finish this leg in Port Denerau, conveniently close to the airport.
Fiji is where the team from Yachting World filmed a series of videos on Pacific cruising techniques on board Skyelark.
Fiji and Vanuatu are a real highlight of our program in the pacific, read our blogs to find out why we love them so much!
After joining on the 11th July at Port Denerau, we will have plenty of time to explore the outer islands of Fiji known as the Mamanucas and Yasawa islands. There are plenty of idyllic beaches, exciting snorkelling and quiet anchorages to enjoy as well as meeting the friendly, local islanders. We will then head off for Vanuatu - a 450 mile downwind passage taking around 3 days.
We will arrive into the southernmost island Aneiytum and from here will cruise north up the island chain to finish in Port Vila on Efate. Vanuatu is truly a highlight of any voyage across the Pacific. We will visit many isolated communities, sit next to a live volcano on the island of Tanna as it rumbles and spits molten lava rocks into the air, and enjoy the local cultures which are about as far removed as possible from life as we know it.
Starting from Port Vila on the island of Efate in Vanuatu we will explore this island before heading north to explore the other islands of Epi, Ambrym, Pentecost and Porto Santo. There are pretty bays and anchorages, interesting dive sites of World War 2 relics and wrecks, lovely beaches, fantastic local restaurants with fresh fish and crabs and the hike to the volcano on Ambrym is an unforgettable experience. Looking into the heart of the earth seeing the boiling cauldron of lava is truly awe-inspiring.
After Vanuatu we will set sail on a 7 day tradewind passage to Australia, coming in through the Great Barrier Reef to make landfall in Mackay. A little while to enjoy some civilization here will be followed by a wonderful cruise up through the Whitsunday Islands. These picturesque islands offer lovely walks with spectacular views, scenic anchorages and wildlife in abundance. We finish this leg in Airlie Beach on the mainland – a bustling little town where it is easy to fly out from the local airport of Prosperpine.
Starting from Airlie Beach, the Whitsunday Islands are right on the doorstep. Gentle trade winds mean relaxed day sailing between the many islands that are on offer and the Great Barrier Reef further offshore breaks up the ocean swells, creating a wonderful cruising area in smooth water. There will be something for everyone in this tropical paradise.
Spectacular scenery, breathtaking views and local wildlife are to be found on the many walking trails throughout the islands, and we will also be visiting the occasional island resort for a small change of scene, including the famous Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest and most complex expanse of living coral reefs, supporting many unique forms of marine life. We will also be spending some time out on the Reef as diving and snorkelling is a must.
From here we head up the East coast of Australia with some stops along the way. We will visit the mainland and the reef islands, highlights will include Magnetic and Lizard islands, Cairns or Cooktown and perhaps a stop right at the top of Cape York in the heart of aboriginal land. There is excellent sailing and fishing across the Gulf of Carpentaria and we may even get to pit stop at the Wessel Islands - where we can negotiate a tidal rip known as the hole in the wall!
After plenty of great sailing we will arrive into Darwin for a few days of land exploration. Darwin has much to offer including the main wharf with its waterside commercial centre, historic walking trails and World War 2 tunnels, early balloon flights with views over the Australian outback, and the Kakadu National Park – a place renowned for the richness of its Aboriginal cultural sites. There is also the Litchfield National Park nearby. For those wishing to explore by bike, there are numerous biking trails or if you are looking for something less strenuous, there are scooters and cars for hire and flights available to Alice Springs and Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Leaving from Darwin, we will then continue on to Kupang in Indonesia, a passage of around 3 days. This leg finishes here, but there are many interesting places to explore nearby before you fly home – or stay on for the Indonesia cruise!
Joining Skyelark in Kupang we then have just under a month of cruising through the islands of Indonesia, before finishing in either Lombok or Bali. Very much a cruising leg with no long passages, we will enjoy seeing the famous Komodo dragons on the islands of Komodo and Rinca, relax and go swimming and snorkelling in secluded anchorages with pristine beaches and enjoy hikes ashore to explore the multitude of islands on offer. There are crater lakes, waterfalls, walking trails and wonderful views, friendly culture and great food.
We have so far had 2 short visits to Indonesia and have only ever grazed the surface of the world’s largest island country. What we have found are friendly people, great food and a stunning landscape. Inspired by the Indonesian cruising rally we have decided to spend a bit more time here and see it properly - forget big and bustling overcrowded cities, we are going to small fishing communities, national parks and areas of outstanding beauty – dipping in occasionally at cool and quirky surfer resorts for massages and beach bars.
In Lombok, opportunities here include hiking in the volcanic mountains of the north, enjoying the beautiful bays and beaches of the south, visiting the many temples, taking a trip to the Gili Isles, 3 small desert islands fringed by white sand beaches and coconut palms, or just enjoying the local Indonesian cuisine while watching another stunning sunset.
For this leg we have plenty of time to continue our exploration of the Indonesian islands with beautiful stops and local harbours before clearing out from Batam opposite Singapore harbour - a day trip is possible. From then on it’s up the Mallaca straights (once known for piracy, it has been completely safe for many years) before making our way up to Malaysia. We may pop into the mainland but our main focus will be the islands. We will stop at the island of Penang with its colonial capital, national parks, and an incredible street food market – Malaysian cuisine is colourful and delicious and the markets are the way to try it.
Next up Langkawi. This beautiful island offers lovely anchorages and swimming as well as nice hikes and waterfalls inland. Our final destination will be Phuket in Thailand and a quick tour of Krabi Bay - we spent 6 months of refit here in 2015 and we will be very happy to revisit some of our favourite places.