What followed was a real race to the Maroni River in French Guiana.
I had been contacted by the tourism office of Saint Laurent (one of the rally sponsors), as they were organising a large public welcome for the yachts. Fine, but to do so, they needed our time of arrival to coincide with their preparations. Good grief!
We agreed on trying for 18:00, three days after leaving Roiden Rust. With just 250 nautical miles to cover, the yachts needed to average only 83 miles a day to arrive in time.
No such luck…
The winds were unfavourable and only one yacht (Virginia Dare) made the entrance of the Maroni River as predicted. A text message from the satellite phone on Lion King was sent to advise organisers of the delay, but apparently it was not received.
My apologies to the whole town of Saint Laurent du Maroni, the Mairie, the kayak club, the tourist office, the fire brigade and the Gendarmerie, who had come out in force to welcome the yachts. We did the best we could.
It should not be an issue next year as I am considering placing Internet linked tracking devices on all yachts. That should effectively take the guess work out of when the fleet is due!
Despite arriving one day later than expected, our welcome was a hearty one nevertheless.
A crowd of spectators and the media braved an unseasonal downpour to greet us as news spread of our arrival.
As the sailors made their way ashore, they were treated to a show of traditional dance by Creole and Amerindian artists. Truly spectacular!
After the obligatory media interviews and a showering of welcome gifts, the rally participants and spectators were offered drinks and a buffet that clearly satisfied even the hungriest of sailors.
On behalf of the Nereid’s Rally, thank you Saint Laurent du Maroni. We have all been overwhelmed by your generous hospitality.