The World ARC rally participants are currently visiting Colombia for the first time and are receiving a very welcoming reception.

The World ARC, a rally now organised annually by the World Cruising Club, is visiting the Atlantic coast of Colombia for the first time. If today’s welcome of the first yacht to arrive, the Oyster 575 Juno, is anything to go by, the 15-strong crews can expect some formidable hospitality over the next week.

Paul and Caroline Frew’s Juno was the first yacht to arrive at Santa Marta Marina today, completing the breezy first 800nm leg from Saint Lucia in four days. Their five-strong crew were pleasantly surprised to see two Coastguard vessels escort them for the final few miles this morning together with marina owner Manuel Julian Davila’s 70ft sports fishing boat full of local representatives, friends, press and the WCC rally control reps.

World ARC visits Columbia

Paul and Caroline Frew with Juno crew dockside

There was barely space to fit all those waiting to catch lines on the pontoon as horns blasted, champagne flowed and locals on stilts flew flags. It made quite a sight – and a good one to see how much it means to the Colombian locals to welcome in cruising yachts. “It’s great to have included Santa Marta on the route of World ARC and we’re excited to explore all the cultural opportunities in the area,” said Juno’s Caroline Frew on arrival.

World Cruising Club agrees that it is very excited to now include Colombia in the World ARC Programme. Founded in 1525 Santa Marta is the oldest surviving city in South America and an important colonial city of Colombia. It is a rapidly developing tourist and cruising destination. Santa Marta is backed by the dramatic Sierra Nevada mountain range and has the stunning Tayrona National Park on its doorstep.

The newly constructed IGY Santa Marta Marina is an excellent facility for cruising sailors, an ideal pit stop before Panama and will be home to the fleet during its stopover.