Starting in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the race covers a 2,700-mile passage across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, to Rodney Bay in St Lucia

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After the adrenalin-filled days of preparation in Las Palmas, the accomplishment of the Atlantic crossing and the arrival festivities in Rodney Bay, the ARC participants’ individual Caribbean adventures begin.

Some sailors look forward to a gentle meander through the Caribbean, staying days or weeks at favourite anchorages. Others like speed, getting to as many places as possible and taking part in the fun island regattas. Still others plan their voyage from event to event, hitting Trinidad Carnival, cricket matches, music festivals and jump-ups.

The Caribbean is fabled as having something for everyone, so let’s take a leaf from Aesop’s Fables and outline possible itineraries for sailors that we’ll call The Tortoise and The Hare. And although we don’t think old Aesop had a Party Animal character, we can’t think of the Caribbean without one!

For each of these cruising styles, we’ve outlined itineraries from January 2009 to the end of the Caribbean high season in June. But remember, the Caribbean is so diverse that there are vast areas and innumerable events we haven’t even mentioned. Among those we have, you can ‘mix and match’ if your crew combines reptiles, cottontails and party-sharks!

Unlike the tale in Aesop’s Fables, where there was only one victor, in today’s Caribbean, the Tortoise, the Hare – and, indeed, the Party Animal – are all winners.

Choose your perfect Caribbean itinerary: are you a Tortoise, a Hare or a party animal?