Last call in Las Palmas

Espen Aalstad
Sun 25 Nov 2007 08:54
28:07.7N 15:25.5W Las Palmas start
We are ready and actually by now can not wait to get going tomorrow across the starting line and into the big blue. The farewell fire works is just finished and outside a cold wind of 25 knots makes St. Lucia all the more tempting.
Crew is complete. Grandfather Kjell has arrived from Norway (with also a bag full of food we want and miss). Ole has come from Sweden with lot's of sailing experience in his vains and from four Atlantic crossings. So far, his stories from merchant marine is entertaining and many...
Magnus and Einar left Friday and are happily with their cousins at Grandma eating waffles. In the end, with Einar's sea sickness this is better for them ...and us.
They will both go to school and get a big dose of reality, even the first snow.
Before they left they still felt like real ARC kids having participated in dinghy races, Optimist course and met new friends. Much needed when Mum and Dad has not been too attentive.
Great fun at Don Pedro's dighy race. Elin and Espen represented Regina
It has been a long week here of planning, preparations, social events and a few disappointments.
We have too much food on board probably, but stil count on 17 days at sea. The trick has been to have a good list to avoid the impulse purchases and fit the basics first such as 70 liters of juice or 100 slices of cheese. Still, we happily bumped into Ikea yesterday and got almost homesick....uuum Christmas ham and pepperkakor now loaded. Ole and Kjell have found better fishing gear so maybe we can avoid canned food altogether.
Provisioning has actually a good network here from all the previous ARCs from ordering frozen food in vacuum packs to deliveries at the port. Quite a sight when boxes upon boxes arrive on the pontoon or when people wash apple by apple before it comes on board. We are more relaxed.
We had counted on far too much work on the boat for here with appointments made well in advance. They seem to be worth nothing as instead there is a sad system of signing up and waiting on your boat until the provider comes. Our spinnaker pole has arrived and despite Jeanneau ignoring us, it is up and test sailed. Big thanks to Eirik on Luffelia.
All security measures are in place and Raymarine is simply outstanding in providing customer support. Our solar panels are not top shape as the electrician has never showed and a few other matters has to still wait.
The seminars have continued this week with my highlight being the first aid and safety demonstrations. Einar and Elin enjoyed the one on "how to spot whales". The ARC organizational machine is actually quite impressive down to check out and skippers briefing today.
Live demonstrations on life raft. Einar gets a first hand feel just in case.
Tonight we have had a three course dinner on board before we start leaning over. Last safety preparations are dinner conversations while crew is quite relaxed. Elin and Regi even had a Christmas hair cut today for the first time in months.
Tomorrow 240 boats will leave between 12:30 and 2. The heavy wind will make this interesting......