Laura Hodgetts talks to the skippers of 20 boats on the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), ‘the biggest downwind gear test of the year’, about the pros and cons of the equipment they used and the sailing techniques they deployed
About St Lucia
Saint Lucia is nestled in the Windward Island chain between Martinique to the north and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the south. Castries, the capital city, is renowned for its deep harbour.
At just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, St Lucia is lined with beaches and stunning anchorages such as Marigot Bay, while lush rainforest covers much of the island. The best views may be from the sea, but on land, there’s a wealth of adventure awaiting including St Lucia Segway tours from Rodney Bay Village, mountainbiking, zip-sliding with the Tree Top Adventure Park and guided hikes up Gros Piton – the largest of the Piton Mountains, which have UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Sightseers can visit cocoa, sugar and banana plantations, botanical gardens and a ‘drive-in’ volcano, enjoy cassava bread at Plas Kassav bakery, street seafood on a Friday night at Anse La Raye and cliffside spas at Ti Kaye Anse Cochon.
St Lucia changed hands between the English and the French 14 times until the British took definitive control in 1814. St. Lucia became independent in 1979 and has a vibrant mix of Carib, African, French and English culture.
The Caribbean boasts ‘some of the finest sailing weather in the world’, says cruising guide author Chris Doyle. ‘When I arrived 46 years ago, fishing fleets would go out every day under sail. Almost none of that happens any more, but it shows how practical it is to sail around these islands. You don’t need to use much fuel.’
Eyeball navigation works due to its clear waters. Chris recommends brown polarised sunglasses for spotting reefs. He warns sailors to beware ill-maintained moorings, and advises: ‘Where possible, dive and check.’
Hurricane season is predominantly August and September.
Sailors are advised to register their details at www.sailclear.com for easier clearance.
PBO stayed at the Palm Haven Hotel, close to IGY Rodney Bay Marina, courtesy of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board.
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