The arrival of Alberto Larranaga's Moody 54 Dilema II today brought the number of ARC boats tied up in St Lucia to 100

The arrival of Alberto Larranaga’s Moody 54 Dilema II today brought the number of ARC boats tied up in St Lucia to 100. The Rodney Bay marina is looking a bit more festive – when Spirit finished almost a week ago, the concrete pontoons were virtually deserted. Now ARC banners flap in the warm St Lucian breeze everywhere and the waterside is abuzz with stories of the crossing.

Several boats have already left St Lucia, most of them racing boats heading for St Martin or Antigua. Formula One Sailing’s fleet of Farr 65s left Rodney Bay together like ducks in a row. Also absent from the marina today was line honours winner Spirit. She went out sailing for the day with the crew of third-placed Extra Dry aboard, perhaps getting some tips for next time?

One of the smallest boats in the fleet, Albrecht Wackerhagen’s 34ft Mustique, arrived within hours of one of the biggest, the 36m Tosca III. The contrast between the two could not have been greater: the superyacht comfort and luxury enjoyed by Tosca’s guests and professional crew was a world away from the minimalist existence endured by Mustique’s crew of two. They slept four to five hours a day and ate predominantly freeze-dried pot noodles. All their water was carried in bottles, and needless to say it wasn’t for showers! Wackerhagen and his crew, Carlos Martinez from the Canaries, are delighted with their result (second across the line in RORC Racing B and excellent prospects for a handicap win) and thoroughly enjoyed the crossing, the culmination of two years of work for Wackerhagen who spoke passionately about the pure pleasure of hours at Mustique’s responsive tiller. “We had three consecutive days of 210 miles under main and genoa. It was a three-day gift!”

There is at least one boat arriving every hour now, all of them met on the finish line with a basket of fruit, a round of rum punches, and photographer Tim Wright in his little inflatable to capture the moment. The official ARC prize giving will take place on the 20 December, but there are plenty of parties to keep the early arrivals going, or not, until then.