ARC Rally rallies to help St Lucia hurricane victims

Aftermath of Hurricane Tomas on the Caribbean Island of St Lucia
Clare and Andrew Payne
Participants in one of the world's great rallies are to assist a Caribbean Island devastated by a hurricane by carrying supplies across the Atlantic Ocean.

Crews taking part in this year's Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) are being asked to carry extra supplies on their Atlantic crossing, or to donate spare items on their arrival to assist the island of St Lucia, where the rally traditionally ends. La Vaughn Francis of Saint Lucia Tourist Board says: 'Supplies would be most useful at this time and I have spoken to the Red Cross and NEMO teams who have indicated that canned foods and dry goods are most needed.'

The Saint Lucian Red Cross has asked for donations of everyday items such as canned foods (especially evaporated milk), dry food stuffs, water containers, batteries, flasks, small transistor radios, lanterns or flash lights/torches, cleaning supplies, sanitary wipes/hand sanitizers, blankets, bed sheets, sleeping bags, children's disposable diapers/nappies and wipes, infant food and formula, female sanitary products, adult disposable diapers/nappies and toiletries like toothpaste, soaps, toothbrushes.

World Cruising Club, who are the organisers of the rally, were concerned to hear of the damage that Hurricane Tomas caused when it struck Saint Lucia earlier in the week. The considerable damage appears to have been restricted to the south of the island, and it is reported it will take time for the island to recover.

Rodney Bay Marina, which is in the north of the island and it where the Rally traditionally arrives, is not damaged, and the General Manager Adam Foster comments: 'The marina suffered no damage and the road bridges that washed away will be repaired before ARC. Power is back on but water is not expected to be back till mid November.' (date of quote 03/11/2010)

The Club has asked all participants that if they have spare provisions, or space onboard to take extra tinned and dried foods, to take as much as they can. The Red Cross in Saint Lucia are to collect the food and arrange for it to be distributed to the most needy.

The over 200 boats in the rally depart the Canary Islands on the 21st November, and most will arrive between two and three weeks later.

In addition to yachts taking excess food supplies to offer on arrival, World Cruising Club will also organise a cash collection at the final ARC prizegiving in Saint Lucia.

The Saint Lucia High Commission in London has also established a disaster relief fund and would welcome donations. All of the money will be used directly in the rebuilding of people's lives in Saint Lucia. More information on the Saint Lucia High Commission website: www.stluciahcuk.org, and more information about the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers on their website: www.worldcruising.com/arc