Blog nr.17 from California Blue - We made
Sorry for the delay in posting our final blog of
the ARC - it has taken a little more time than we expected to adjust to being on
land again :)
We had an exciting finish to ARC. The wind got up
considerably blowing between 25-30 knots and we experienced some big swells for
the second day in a row.
The boys held their last night watch with Jayson
while Vic and Mark slept waiting for their respective watches.
By 04:00 UTC the wind direction had changed
somewhat in our favor and we gybed heading towards a course of 260
T degrees which took us all the way into Rodney Bay.
The last few hours we scanned the horizon for other
boats and saw a few in the distance.
By about 12:00 UTC (08:00 local time) we spotted St
Lucia. The skies were quite gray so we didn't have a clear first impression
of the island.
Around 09:00 UTC we called ARC Finish Line on the
VHF and advised them we were 5 miles from the finish line and to prepare for our
arrival. They asked us to call back at 2 miles which we did. At this point
several other boats appeared and we started to wonder if it would a sprint to
the finish or not. We were able to stay ahead of the other boats managing 8-9
knots under reefed mainsail only!
As we rounded Pigeon Island towards the finish line
the wind accelerated to 30 knots and we sailed right into a squall getting
masses of rain and wind right on our bow.
The finish line was less than 1/2 mile from us now
and we were making almost no headway due to the change in wind direction and
conditions - the wind was directly on our bow.
After what seemed an eternity we beat towards the
finish line looking like we were standing still! Just before passing the finish
line the ARC photographer came out and took our pictures which clearly
illustrate the situation we found ourselves in. Moments after the photos
we passed over the finish line - it was 9:59.31 local time. We were
thrilled at our accomplishment and having finally made it to St
Having passed the finish line we proceeded take
down our sails and prepared to come into the marina and dock. ARC Berthing
called us back on the VHF and assigned us berth A43 which we proceeded to find.
A few minutes later we had entered the Rodney Bay Marina (a giant lagoon) and
motored up to our berth. After a little bit of drama reversing into our dock due
to very high cross winds we were finally in place. Thanks to the great help from
local dock hands managing our mooring lines for us.
A few minutes later the St. Lucia Tourist Board and
ARC team were there to welcome us complete with fruit basket, a magnum of
Heineken and kind greetings. See photos.
The next few hours were filled with tidying the
boat up, having lunch at the local sports bar and then off to the ARC Welcome
Party later that evening.
While the results aren't yet final, it looks like
California Blue finished 85 out of 240 boats with a time of 17 days 1
It was wonderful to be back on land and
see friends we had met in Las Palmas who had arrived from the day
before. The sensation of having completed this passage is fantastic. The reality
of what we have experienced is still settling in.
This will probably be our last blog entry. We would
like to thank you all for following us and sharing in our journey. Thank you all
for your support and emails. It meant a lot to us.
Hope you enjoy the photos from our final day of the
Mark and the crew of California Blue.