The World ARC 2018
After a particularly enjoyable round the world voyage in 2014, sailing with World ARC for the Pacific legs and then into Asia, Skyelark will be going round the whole way in the World ARC 2018! See below for more details of this incredible rally, and to find out how you can participate!
The rally starts and finishes in St Lucia, setting sail in early January 2017 and arriving back in April 2018. The route passes through the Panama Canal and then begins a fantastic cruise through the magical islands of the Pacific. Having reached Australia and explored the Great Barrier Reef, it's onto Lombok and across the Indian Ocean to Cape Town. Remote Atlantic islands are followed by Carnival in Brazil before heading back up the Caribbean chain to St Lucia.
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.
|5th Jan 2017||3rd Feb 2017||Saint Lucia, Santa Marta, San Blas Islands, Panama Canal||1190nm||29||£3500|
|5th Feb 2017||25th Feb 2017||Panama City, Las Perlas, Galapagos||940nm||20||£3500|
|27th Feb 2017||23rd Mar 2017||Galapagos, Marquesas||2980nm||24||£3500|
|27th Mar 2017||22nd Apr 2017||Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti||830nm||26||£3500|
|29th Apr 2017||4th Jun 2017||Tahiti, Society Islands, Bora Bora, Suwarrow, Niue, Vavu'a, Tonga||1630nm||35||£4200|
|8th Jun 2017||2nd Jul 2017||Tonga, Fiji||580nm||24||£3500|
|6th Jul 2017||5th Aug 2017||Fiji, Vanuatu, Mackay, Airlie Beach (Australia)||1780nm||30||£3500|
|11th Aug 2017||12th Sep 2017||Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, Darwin, Lombok||2550nm||32||£3500|
|15th Sep 2017||17th Oct 2017||Lombok, Christmas Island, Cocos Keeling, Mauritius||3460nm||32||£3500|
|24th Oct 2017||24th Nov 2017||Mauritius, Reunion, Richard's Bay, Cape Town||2200nm||31||£3500|
|4th Jan 2018||3rd Feb 2018||Cape Town, Saint Helena, Cabedelo (Brazil)||3600nm||30||£3500|
|8th Feb 2018||9th Mar 2018||Cabedelo, Fernando da Noronha, Grenada||2300nm||30||£3500|
|25th Mar 2018||8th Apr 2018||Grenada, St. Lucia||120nm||14||£1400|
* 10% discount for multiple legs (e.g. Leg 1: £3500, Leg 2: £3150, Leg 3: £3150, etc.)
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||WCC crew fees (£150)|
|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||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 9th first stop Santa Marta 815nm away. We will have a day stop to explore this historic coastal town in Columbia before setting off for the San Blas Islands. 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 5th 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 10th 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 Christobal 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, masses of fish and sea birds. The diving, snorkeling and nature watching is world class. You can expect to swim with big mammal and hammer head sharks. Onshore the traditional community is full of local flavour both socially and literally with fantastic fresh fish, fruit and vegetables.
Skyelark will be based in the 2 main harbours 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 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 1st 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 Raiatea on the 11th 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.
After joining on the 6th July at Port Denerau we will sail to Musket Cove to rendezvous with the other WARC yachts for a couple of social events before heading off for Vanuatu. This 450 mile passage should take 3 days and then allow 10 days of cruising through the islands before joining up again with the others on the 19th. Our first stop on Tanna will be a memorable experience. Sitting next to a live volcano as it rumbles and spits molten lava rocks into the air is not something you forget in a hurry!
Sailing up through the islands we will visit many isolated communities, and the locals are happy to welcome yachts and trade for locally grown fruit and veg. There are also opportunities for island tours and great diving and snorkelling over old World War II sites on the islands of Santo.
Our passage onto Australia begins on 20th July, and should be a 7 day tradewind sail across to Mackay, the gateway to the well known Whitsunday Islands.
After a few days relaxing, we will head up through the island chain and enjoy the wonderful scenery, abundant wildlife both above and below the water, as well as fantastic walking opportunities and beaches that are on offer here. This was one of our favourite cruising grounds on the last world ARC.
This leg will finish at Airlie Beach close to Prosperpine airport.
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. This was one of our favourite cruising grounds during our last world ARC.
From here we head up the East coast of Australia with some stops along the way before our rendezvous with the other WARC yachts in Darwin, where there will be the opportunity to explore for a few days. Darwin has much to offer including the main wharf with its waterside commercial centre, historic walking trails and World War 2 tunnels to explore, 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. 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.
After Darwin has been fully explored, we will then continue onto Lombok. This 990nm passage should take around a week, arriving in Lombok on the 11th September. This leg concludes on the 12th but it may be worth staying on to explore Lombok before heading home. 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.
We depart from Lombok on the 17th September on a 620 mile passage across to Christmas Island, The Jewel of the Indian Ocean. Christmas Island is a territory of Australia and is a wonderful place to enjoy nature at its best. Sometimes referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, there are many unusual birds and endemic species of wildlife here whilst the beautiful coral reefs are home to an abundance and diversity of tropical fish. The island is also famous for its large population of red land crabs, their annual migration has been described by ecologists as one of the wonders of the natural world.
Sailing on to Cocos Keeling, we will head for Port Refuge on Direction Island. This is a wonderful tranquil bay on an uninhabited island. From there, there is the chance to visit Home Island where around 500 Malay people live. Here you can sample the local spicy cuisine and snorkel or dive in the crystal clear waters. World ARC will also organise some fleet events such as a beach barbeque.
From here it’s a passage of 2530 nautical miles across to Mauritius which should take around 17 days.
After joining on the 24th in Mauritius, we will set sail for Reunion Island on the 26th. It is only a 24 hour sail, so a good shake down passage before heading onto South Africa. Reunion is a French dependency and the mountainous interior is dominated by the remains of 3 huge craters. There are many walking paths to fully appreciate the breathtaking volcanic scenery.
From here we set sail with the fleet to Richard's Bay in South Africa. Richard's Bay is just north of Durban and we will have a few days exploring there before heading round to Cape Town. There are good opportunities here to explore inland nature and game reserves. Arriving in Cape Town under the impressive Table Mountain will signal the completion of crossing the Indian Ocean.
Due to the importance of sailing to Cape Town with the right weather conditions, we cannot guarantee exactly when we will arrive. Therefore we advise you not to book flights home in advance and to be aware that the end of this leg may require some flexibility.
The boat will have a 6 week break in Cape Town, so for those doing multiple legs, it's a great opportunity to explore Africa on Safari, or an overland adventure. You could also of course fly home for Christmas.
Joining in Cape Town on the 4th, we will set sail with the WARC fleet on the 6th for our Atlantic journey across to Brazil. SE trade winds mean fast downwind sailing. There can't be many people who have visited the small remote island of St Helena - there is no airport here so only the most intrepid travellers can get here. It is a great opportunity to break up the ocean passage and have some time exploring and enjoying the hospitality of the welcoming islanders.
It is then a further 1750nm tradewind sail onto Cabedelo in Brazil, where you can celebrate crossing the Atlantic.
Joining Skyelark in Cabedelo, Brazil we will set sail north and visit Fernando Da Noronha (weather depending) and spend around 3 or 4 days exploring the island. This special place is 220 miles off the Brazilian coast and has been made a Unesco World Hertitage site due to the abundance of marine life, flora and fauna. Beautiful scenery, amazing diving and snorkelling are all on offer here. If this is not viable we will visit Forteleza on the mainland instead.
We will then head off to Grenada, and hope to stop around halfway through the trip at 'Devil's Island', an old prison island off the coast of French Guiana. If timings allow we will also visit Tobago before completing the leg at St George's in Grenada.
Grenada is one of our favourite Caribbean islands, so make sure you take some time to explore before heading home.
On our final leg of our round the World adventure, we will be reacquainting ourselves with our favourite cruising ground in the Caribbean, St Vincent, St Lucia and the Grenadines. Having spent many months cruising this area in the past we will take you to all our favourite spots. Enjoy lobster barbeques on the beach in the Tobago Cays after swimming with turtles, hike the volcano in St Vincent to give stunning views and relax on the perfect beaches in Carriacou to name a few.
Our final sail into St Lucia will be a very special moment for Skyelark as she completes her adventure round the world. Celebrating in style with the other WARC crews there will be a final dinner on the 7th April to mark the end of what will be a hugely memorable experience!