"The ARC is a “bucket list” event for anyone who yearns to go ocean sailing."
- Peta Cozier, Caribbean Event Manager for the World Cruising Club
The Caribbean Events Manager, Peta Cozier, dives right in to tell us about what this special race really is all about and opens up about what it means to him when the community of sailors unite from across the globe to take part in a cross Atlantic race which most don't dare to experience.
The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is an annual transatlantic sailing event.
A flotilla of nearly 300 sailboats that have crossed 2,900 nautical miles of open-ocean from the Spanish island of Gran Canaria arrives into Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia in late November every year.
TTG: Tell us about yourself
PC: My name is Peta Cozier, and I am an ARC Caribbean Events Manager. I was actually born in Saint Lucia, but spent a wonderful childhood growing up in East Africa. When we did return to the Caribbean, in my early teens, we settled on my father’s island, Barbados. Until my early twenties, nearly every holiday was spent in Saint Lucia with my extended family. I spent time in Jamaica, again with family, then a few years in Florida before hopping across the pond, for what I believed would be a short stint in the UK. Two decades and two wonderful sons later, I decided it was time to come home. It’s one of the best decisions I have made.
"The crews come from diverse backgrounds, from luxury travellers to backpackers; retirees to young families; all united in a common ambition to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean."
- Peta Cozier
TTG: Tell us about your sailing background
PC: I am a member of one of the shore based teams so I don’t get afloat very often with my role on the ARC. However, as Saint Lucia is a small island we are never far from the water. I enjoy hanging out with friends on their own boats. The Saint Lucia Yacht Club on Reduit Beach has a fleet of small sailing dinghies and parents are encouraged to join in with their youngsters on the sailing programme. Also being involved with the ARC I do get some great offers to go sailing. Most recently was a New Year’s trip down island from Saint Lucia to our neighbour Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on a borrowed Leopard 42 catamaran. Cruising through the islands with a rum drink in my hand really is my kind of sailing!
TTG: Tell us about what you do
PC: As the Event Manager for the Caribbean, my role is to ensure that every function and event for the participants runs smoothly and is a memorable experience for everyone – from the Dockside Welcome of each boat, the parties, the tours, to the prize giving ceremony. Working directly with the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, the preparations begin early and continue throughout the year, as we are constantly adapting the programme to make it better than the year before.
It is always a thrill for me to meet the boats on arrival into Saint Lucia. They have done it! Something that so few people in the world even consider; they have crossed the Atlantic on a small sailboat! That accomplishment is tremendous and I’m proud to be a part of it.
"Each year it brings together nearly 300 sailboats – typically around 45 feet (14m) long, from more than 30 nations, all sailing in company for 3 to 4 weeks across open-ocean."
- Peta Cozier
TTG: What do you think makes the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers popular on social media?
PC: The ARC is a “bucket list” event for anyone who yearns to go ocean sailing. Each year it brings together nearly 300 sailboats – typically around 45 feet (14m) long, from more than 30 nations, all sailing in company for 3 to 4 weeks across open-ocean. The crews come from diverse backgrounds, from luxury travellers to backpackers; retirees to young families; all united in a common ambition to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
TGG: What has been your best experience during the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers?
PC: Probably my best experience recently was to organise a chilled bottle of Champagne for a dockside marriage proposal. The arriving crewmember had spent three weeks at sea and was eager to be reunited with his partner on arrival and had resolved to pop-the-question the moment he stepped ashore. After some hasty emails to ARC rally control, a “surprise” chilled bottle was produced at the appropriate moment to the delight of the now fiancée and rest of his crewmates. Moments like this just make me glad to be part of such a special event.
TGG: What makes the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers unique?
PC: Without doubt it is the people who take part each year that make it so special. The emotions and the excitement at achieving a dream make such an amazing atmosphere.
"I prefer the East Coast – windswept from the open Atlantic and rugged, where you can walk from bay to bay without seeing another person, and the sunrises are spectacular bursts of colour."
- Peta Cozier
TTG: Sum up the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers in three words.
PC: Emotion. Joy. Celebrations.
TTG: Tell us about the places on Saint Lucia where you go to escape
PC: Saint Lucia is a stunning island, and noted for its timeless natural beauty. The west coast boasts the magnificent Pitons – near vertical volcanic peaks with sulphur springs, waterfalls and white, gold and black sand beaches. I prefer the East Coast – windswept from the open Atlantic and rugged, where you can walk from bay to bay without seeing another person, and the sunrises are spectacular bursts of colour.
TTG: Tell us one thing that tourists don’t really know about the island.
PC: Saint Lucia can boast not one but two Nobel Laureates: Sir Arthur Lewis for Economics, and Sir Derek Walcott for Literature. We have a long and rich heritage we are proud of, and we enjoy life to the fullest.
TTG: When you're not at work, where on the island would you be most likely be found?
PC: My home is my sanctuary. It sits on a hill with a rolling garden full of fruit trees and bougainvillea with a panoramic view over Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island. From here I can watch the sunset to the west, and on a clear evening I can spot the magical “green flash” at the moment the sun dips below the horizon.
"Go out to see the pods of wild dolphins that have made their home just off the coast of the Pitons."
- Peta Cozier
TTG: If you could only recommend one thing for visitors to do on Saint Lucia during their stay, what would it be?
PC: Go out to see the pods of wild dolphins that have made their home just off the coast of the Pitons. Every day, they will put on a thrilling show that is fun, natural, joyful and magical. Just like my island.