World ARC postponed as cruise rally organizers face dilemma
Uncertainty over quarantine restrictions and travel rules, combined with the growing demand for cruise meeting places, poses a dilemma for event planners: leave or cancel?
World Cruise Club, annual meeting organizers Atlantic Rally for cruisers (ARC) and the Atlantic round-the-world rally for cruisers, have canceled the start of the 2022 ARC World Rally which was due to start in Saint Lucia next January. No decision has yet been taken on the execution of the second part of the route, which runs from Australia to the Caribbean.
However, the WCC is moving forward with plans for three transatlantic rallies between November and January from Las Palmas to the Caribbean. They include the ARC from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia, the ARC + rally via Cape Verde, and an additional post-Christmas Atlantic crossing event, the ARC January, created in part to meet the high demand for transatlantic places.
“Persistent uncertainty regarding COVID infection levels, the emergence of variants, vaccine uptake, international travel and quarantine restrictions that are expected to continue, even for travelers vaccinated for World ARC route countries , and unfortunately [these] make it difficult to achieve a round the world organized according to a planned schedule, ”reports Andrew Bishop, General Manager of the World Cruising Club.
“As it stands, there is no clear way on exactly how the borders will be opened to whom, under what conditions and over what period. “
Instead, the World Cruising Club plans to organize an abbreviated itinerary for crews wishing to transit through the Panama Canal and cruise the Pacific by early March next year. A decision will be made in November and it would be, according to Bishop: “a simple rally to support participants in the Pacific to begin independent circumnavigation.”
Meanwhile, the World oyster rally, due to take a fleet of over 20 Oyster yachts around the world from Antigua early next year, is still planned. Allie Smith, the company’s group events manager, says: “We have talked a lot recently with World Cruising and compared our ratings on the mood of our participants and also on what is happening at the destinations along the rally route. .
The Covid-19 pandemic has derailed plans for around two-thirds of crews planning to participate in the annual ARC …
With so many uncertainties still surrounding travel, should cruise lines still be sailing during Covid? There is a moral dilemma here.…
“Oyster is confident that we will be able to run the Oyster World Rally 2022 and our team is focusing all of their efforts on that. We will only postpone the rally to January 2023 if there is a major negative change in the global Covid situation. This will be communicated to all our entrants at the end of September at the latest, before the Atlantic crossing season.
Meanwhile, many of the yachts that entered French Polynesia during last year’s near-global lockdown are still there, but the borders are closed to incoming yachts.
Fiji has a “blue lane” entry for cruise passengers and has extended the authorized stay from two to five years. Cruise passengers can therefore leave French Polynesia, but further on the cruise route, Vanuatu is closed, as are New Zealand and Australia, which lie outside the hurricane belt.
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