Round up of the ARC 2004 prizegiving which marked the close of last year's ARC

There was an air of celebration at the Gaiety Nightclub last night for the ARC 2004 prize giving which marked the close of this year’s ARC. Sponsored by Cable & Wireless and the Bank of St Lucia International, participants were welcomed with Pusser’s Rum Cocktails and a chak chak band before the prize giving part 1 started.

The first half of the evening saw awards for yachts placed second, third and fourth in class, as well as special Pusser’s Rum Survival Kit for the last yacht to cross the finish line in each cruising class. Robert Holbrook of Admiral Marine Insurance presented ARC certificates and medals to all the ARC junior participants, and Pusser’s Rum presented rum hipflasks flagons to all yachts that came 2nd and 3rd in their class.

After an interval with music from the All Stars steel pan band, whose pulsating Caribbean rhythms had many of the guests dancing on the lawn, the second half of the presentation got underway with a live performance of the ARC theme song “Sail Away” by St Lucian vocalist Lisa Weeks. Her song was composed especially for the ARC and has been played daily around Rodney Bay Marina to welcome new arrivals.

During the Prize Giving, US$3,000 was raised at a charity auction for a Pusser’s Rum marine chronometer, bought by Claus Heinrich, owner of the yacht Amoenitas. The auction proceeds will go to buy equipment for the St.Lucia Yacht Club Youth Sailing Project, which aims to introduce young people from all backgrounds to the sport of sailing.

Special guests for the evening were the Hon. Phillip J. Pierre, Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Mario Michelle, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, the Parliamentary Representative for Gros Islet, and Costello Michelle, Chairman of the St Lucia Tourist Board. The VIPs joined representatives of sponsors Cable & Wireless and the Bank of St Lucia International to present prizes to the crews of the first placed yachts in each class. The overall winners in each division on corrected time were:

Division I – Cruising, Jakima, Mario Codeca, Italy

Division II – Racing, Antares, Franciscus Winterswijk, Netherlands

Division IV – Multihulls, Girolata, Christian Martin, France

However, the highlight of the evening, and the most prestigious award in the ARC, is the coveted Spirit of the ARC prize. This goes to the crew, which in the opinion of the organisers, most encompasses the unique spirit of the rally. This year’s winner, a popular choice, was double handed father and daughter team, Peter and Sally-Ann Turner of Asolare .

The last two yachts to finish, Lady Menai and Autumn Breeze , arrived in Rodney Bay Marina just after 12 noon today, too late for the prize giving, but not too late for a tremendous welcome on the dockside from their fellow participants