Getting Ready in Las Palmas.
As always, the 200+ ARC boats and lots of Not-ARC boats make this place feel a hub of bluewater sailing activity.
But Covid concerns have dampened things a lot - there’s no Dinghy Race and even some ARC seminars are now conducted on-line.
Not a total washout, but a bit less fun than in previous years.
I suppose seminars are cheaper to run on-line.
However, the Las Palmas Royal Club Nautico is operating smoothly, very popular with locals even (or maybe especially) amongst those who don’t have a boat. Swimming pools, tennis courts and more. Apparently it’s €30k to join and €3k a year, yeehah! But for visitors like me, even the most dubious-looking “Yacht Club membership card” from erm, elsewhere wins temporary entry for a very good value lunch and glorious views over the anchorage. I took Scott and Deb on Friday which was very jolly fun. Deb queried me about my interests, and she seems to feel that most guys really LOVE going to hardware shops, which as I explained - isn’t true at all. That’s just Scott who maintains their boat "Expedition" almost entirely without the involvement of others. Although after lunch we all wandered over to the Corte Ingles luxury DIY department and bought power tools and hardware, so maybe it’s a bit true.
Expedition is a 32foot monohull, and Deb makes sure that food is prepared in advance and frozen ready to re-heat - cooking at sea makes her feel queasy. Mojo has two fridges (which i’ll use on transat, just one normally) and two freezers (I’ll only use the small one in the cockpit for this trip) so I’ve turned them on to check they’re still working fine.
The upcoming transat weather seems increasingly wind-free, but I’ve got the usual massive load of fuel, so it’s ok either way. Last year was big wind early in the trip, less later on, this year seems the opposite. Light winds at the moment seem to mean crud on the decks every morning - perhaps the result of that volcano in La Palma - it’s not usually this bad.
Scott says he may as well stay here until they get better winds, maybe going the week after the ARC leaves on 21st November. Last year on a similar Atlantic circuit he dropped into Cape Verde islands, which has poor provisioning (no first-world-style supermarkets) so they don’t plan that again, and neither do I. I’ll likely leave during the next week, say Wednesday/Thursday, which would put me in the carib sometime early December. Can’t leave on Friday of course, as it’s (supposedly) Bad Luck. Although I’m the skipper so I can move the clocks back to make it Thursday or Saturday if necessary. Fresh food shopping and giving out the satphone numbers are all that needs doing before setting off.