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Start dates confirmed - No split start for ARC (Direct) Route

by World Cruising Club 8 Aug 09:45 UTC
2019 ARC © James Mitchell

Due to the additional requirements expected for entry into Saint Lucia (under current protocols) it has been agreed that it will be better for participants and officials there, if the ARC arrivals are spread over a longer time period rather than concentrated. Therefore the proposed split start for ARC (Direct route) will now not take place. All ARC (direct) boats will start on 22 November; the start for all ARC+ Cape Verde boats will be 08 November (no change).

Pre-start Isolation Period

Current evidence indicates that the incubation period for COVID-19 is 3 to 14 days with an average of 5-6 days. To ensure that crews go to sea virus free, they should ideally self-isolate for a 14 day period before setting sail across the Atlantic. For most crews this is not practical and therefore a number of measures are being considered to reduce the period of self-isolation whilst mitigating the risk. Primarily this will involve COVID testing for crews in Gran Canaria a number of days before the start.

World Cruising Club will be issuing further guidelines to skippers about their responsibilities to ensure that they and their crew are virus free on start day. These will involve requirements that the crew should form a bubble (or unit) a minimum of 7 days, but preferably 14 days, before the start of the Atlantic crossing, working and living together for the period. All ARC crew must join their yacht a minimum of seven days before their start date.

Further details about the programmes for ARC+ and ARC will be published for participants closer to the start date, but with a one week isolation period before each event start it is intended that any activities in the week before departure will only be virtual.

COVID Testing

Under current protocols the Saint Lucia Health Authorities require all arriving visitors to show a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within seven days of departure for their travel to Saint Lucia. This requirement applies to all ARC+/ARC participants, even though the seven day requirement cannot be met. To facilitate the requirement for a test before departure, arrangements are being made with a clinic in Las Palmas, for pre-departure testing. Further details will be provided to ARC participants via email.

Additionally all visitors to Saint Lucia must quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Saint Lucia. It has been agreed with the Saint Lucia Chief Medical Officer that time at sea will count towards the 14 day quarantine requirement, meaning that only yachts with crossing times of less than 14 days will have to spend some time in quarantine on arrival. Implications for new crew arrivals are more complicated and will be communicated directly to participating skippers.

World Cruising Club continue to monitor the situations, protocols and regulations in our start and finish ports for ARC+ and the ARC. The measures required now might no longer be appropriate in November. Flexibility, understanding and acceptance are essential to a successful event. It is important everyone involved with the ARC complies with the framework for a COVID secure rally. Skippers are therefore urged to ensure that their crew list is correct and contact emails included, to allow for updates direct to all participants.

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