Las Palmas - ARC roundup or "stressup"

Espen Aalstad
Tue 20 Nov 2007 17:26
28:07.70N 15:25.54W Muello Deportivo, Las Palmas
A milestone: ARC starting base and 3400 nautical miles since our August start. Arrival from Tenerife in itself another test of the crew with Elin and Espen still sick and Regi taking largely the night shift across with headwind. 50 nm and East 15 knots.
190 ARC boats was already in the marina and we quickly got a feel for the well organized "machine" this event is. Check-in, paperwork, agendas, seminars, social events and lot's of people. Norwegians are overrepresented, even with half the kids. We have met Sol and two boats from Vollen....
Unfortunately, Magnus got stomach sick at the family BBQ and Einar later that night. A nasty bug for the small boys, and poor Einar is going on his third day while there is other fun stuff going on.
Most people though are too busy working on their boats and preparing for the Atlantic to fully enjoy. After a few days here it even feels like people are winding each other up with what they have done or not....Such as getting ready for the (dreaded) security check. Ours went well and we had many helpful tips...some we should have had before, but we have been lucky to not be in an emergency. Our hatch needs for example to be locked down in bad weather so it can not be lost if we turn over....(learnings from Fast Net Race).
The seminars have been excellent. They are run by real expertise, but teaching at a practical level for example weather & routing or provisioning.
The (st)ARC reality is we all make more lists of "to do" and "to buy" and spend hours working on them!
The ARC population is a study in itself...  From all "senior" boats to youngsters still queing and searching for a boat to join. The virtually knock on the aft to ask is we need them. There are those who have sailed for their whole life and others who barely made it from Spain...Others are also on sabbatical and those who have "made it"....they seem often to be Dutch. There are big crews: a Swedish boat has too many for their own liking as nobody dropped out. There are small crews: our neighbour sails with his wife and two year only on a 50ft. He normally goes alone...
Then there are the NARCs: they are anchored outside and not officially in, but will cross in parallel and reap some of the benefits from the ARC communications.
Not to forget sailors and others making a living off all of us. The Danish seamstress who lives on her boat and prepares now a few things for us like more mosquito nets. Single, +55 and on her way to Brazil. At home two new grandchildren in the last month... 

We have learned to log what is in the lockers


But where does it all fit?

And what about the flag ceremony...?


Who cares about flags when you are sick....

The experience continues.....