Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Bittersweet Ending!

On the final day of the World ARC Rally had finally arrived. There were hugs, tears, thank yous, fun ceremonies, etc. before we left the dock  at the beautiful Capella Resort Marina in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia.

We all dressed our boats with signal flags and our World Cruising Club flags in preparation for the Parade of Yachts. I think we had the most WCC flags of all as we have been doing their rallies since 2010. S/V Trillium looked pretty spiffy all dressed up and ready to strut her stuff!

Unfortunately, Merc and Bob were leaving from Marigot Bay to fly home, so we were on our own with our emotions. They thought we should finish alone since they had not completed the whole circumnavigation. I thought they should stay with us so I had someone with whom to cry! But they had plane reservations ...

Once we were all dressed, we proceeded out of the marina and circled until we all got in the proper order with the smallest boat first and the largest last. Then in formation, we motor-sailed up the coast and into the next bay of the Castries.

The local people were gathered to cheer us along as they know the various rallies bring a lot of money to their communities. They waved and hollered good wishes, etc. as we paraded into the bay and around and out again. 
Parade Of Yachts: It's like herding cats!
Just a few miles further up the coastline, the reality of the Finish Line was waiting for us with photographers and more cheering. It became very emotional at this point!

The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment of having sailed all the way around the world crossing five oceans came home and the tears flowed. Having done it, it doesn’t seem like such an amazing accomplishment; but in reality, it is! I get emotional just trying to finish this blog!
Of course, there was a welcoming party on the dock when we arrived. And there is not party in St. Lucia without Rum Punch. Now, one must be careful with their Rum Punch. It is known to taste sweet and refreshing and goes down easily. But it can also put you down quickly! They have a rum call “Very Strong Rum” and it is! Something like 180 proof!
I do have to admit that I very rarely drink enough to feel tipsy, but on this occasion two little plastic glasses of Rum Punch did me in. It was early afternoon. We had not had any food. And it was hot and sunny with little breeze.. Everyone was laughing and crying. What could be a better way to celebrate?
I recall saying to Dennis, “I AM DRUNK!” And I was! So NOT me! With his help, I made it down the dock, onto the boat and on to my bed. That is the last that I remember. 
A kiss of appreciation from my Captain!
Apparently, the afternoon flew by while we both slept. The big finale dinner was that evening and the bus was leaving the marina at 1830. Since I don’t’ remember going to bed, I know I didn’t set an alarm. For some reason, I woke up at 1825! When I saw the clock, I shouted at Dennis to get up as we were going to miss the bus. 
At that point, I got on the VHF radio and asked anyone listening to please tell the driver we were running “a little late.” Now this is a big event where everyone dresses up. We didn’t have time to shower! I threw on a long dress and twisted my hair up into a knot and added a little hair piece, put on a little mascara and lipstick, earrings and some shoes and jumped off the boat to run up a very long dock! We made the bus! 

The first thing they handed me as we walked into the beautiful venue was a Rum Punch! UGH! It was a Coca Cola night for me! I think I did toast with a little wine, but not much.
The event was lovely and it was fun seeing everyone in their finery. After all, for the past seven months we had been wearing the same clothes most of the time and recognized people by their outfits before seeing their faces.  After a nice meal, photos, speeches from dignitaries and dancing, the party was over – and so was the World ARC 2016-17! 
For us, it was the end of World ARC 2014-15, World ARC 2015-16 and World ARC 2016-17. We met so many wonderful people from all over the world in the three World ARCs in which we participated. We have new friends in many countries and hope to visit them and have them visit us.

When you are out there on the big oceans together, it is a level field. No one cares what you did, how much money you have, how big or small your boat is, how well you sail, etc. We were all there for each other whenever needed and we were concerned for the well-being of everyone.

And our beautiful boat S/V Trillium, a Hallberg-Rassy 46, safely carried us around the world. Not once did I have any fears aboard her - other than was I going to die from sea sickness!  Even though we were one of the smaller boats (at 48.5 feet!), we managed to earn a First, a Second and a Third in the Rally sailing leg events. It is a wonderful world, after all! And a truly amazing experience!

We are so blessed to have had this incredible journey. Our plan is to sail back down to Grenada to leave the boat for hurricane season and return in the fall for a final sail back to the Chesapeake Bay. Trillium will be put up for sale so someone else can have this same experience aboard her. We will return to Michigan for the summer and enjoy having all five kids and their families home for our youngest son's wedding. As the Aussies say: the weddings will be "Done and Dusted!" with this last one. Life is good!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you here. You can see earlier posts at