The ‘Jeune Argonautes’ are flanked by Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Founder and Barbados 50 Odyssey Transatlantic Rally Jimmy Cornell (left) and his daughter, Doina Cornell, at Thursday’s award ceremony.
First leg of B’DOs 50 Odyssey awarded
THE crews from over 30 vessels were honoured on Thursday evening, when an awards ceremony was hosted for the first wave of the Barbados 50 Odyssey Transatlantic Rally. Close to 100 adults and children were presented with prizes by Atlantic Rally for Cruisers founder, Jimmy Cornell, at the Barbados Yacht Club.
With the first group of boats making it to Barbados in time for the independence celebrations, 33 boats are currently in local waters, with another set expected soon.
Speaking to The Barbados Advocate, Cornell explained the thinking behind the initiative.
“They started in London on the 31st of July. Then they sailed via Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and the Cape Verdes, and arrived in Barbados from about 10 days ago. The whole idea is to bring at least 50 boats, a symbolic figure of 50 boats for the independence celebrations, and we have a second group arriving next week – another 22 boats for a total of 55 boats. We have about 21 nationalities, mostly families. We have a lot of families with children... a total of 36 children.” Cornell said.
Noting that he had a long-standing relationship with the island, Cornell said that the event came out of a few years of hard work.
“I came to Barbados myself for the first time 40 years ago. I came by yacht from Europe and landed here in Carlisle Bay. Thirty years ago I came to Barbados with 200 yachts as part of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – the ARC, a transatlantic sailing event that continued here for three years from 1986 to 1989, before moving to St. Lucia. Three years ago I was approached by the office of the Minister of Tourism to see whether we could organise a special sailing event for 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of independence, and this is how it all came about,” he said.
Moving off from the Cape Verde Islands on November 9th for the longest leg of their voyage, the young sailors were kept occupied as they formed connections with children of similar ages in schools across Barbados. With 19 of them in the first fleet under the age of 18, the youngest of the ‘Jeune Argonautes’ was four years old. At the other end of the spectrum, the oldest sailor to make the trip is 84.
For the special event, the visiting vessels range from 36 to 72 feet with price tags of $300 000 to $10 million. (MP)