The numbers above represents our daily
position. This is a special format which can be recognised by the
mailasail system and transposed to the position map that you can see on the
blog. It actually means 26 deg 26' North 16 deg 20' West (I have
taken out the decimal points). It is our first noon position on Monday
ARC Start day. Sunday 21st
We didn't have much to do when we got up at
0700! So many days of running about - but the ARC start day
seemed surprisingly quiet on our pontoon. However it was grey
clouds and heavily overcast - and suddenly a heavy shower soaked
everything (towels and washing were hanging out on the lifelines) not to mention
the tropical sun awning that was stretched tight over the boat. It was all
soaked - but we would have to stow it. Sylvie demanded that we put up lines in
the saloon so the clothes could dry out at least. We all went ashore for a
shower and a few last minute things. Met various sailing friends and
wished everyone a good trip.
The Las Palmas brass band arrived with jugglers, clowns
and people walking on stilts and then proceeded to march around all the ARC
pontoons, creating a wonderful festive atmosphere. The first boats slipped
moorings at about 1030, but there seemed little point in going out so early for
the 1300 hrs start (the start line was only a short distance outside the
harbour. After another couple of short heavy showers (just to make sure
that we couldn't put the sun awning away dry), we made sure everything was
stowed and let go at 1215 and followed the 238 other yachts out into the
outer harbour. It was an amazing sight that greeted us - a mass of yachts
pointing in every direction and juggling for position. (The harbour was
closed to all commercial traffic for about 3 hours). We set the mainsail
and stopped the engine and just sailed slowly towards the start line. We
couldn't actually tell where it was - we could see the large Spanish warship at
one end, but with so many yachts the buoy marking the other end was
completely obscured by boats. Eventually Ben spotted a buoy - which
was closer to us than I had expected the line to be - but anyway the start gun
went about 2 minutes later, so it wasn't really important any longer! It
was just go! We had boats everywhere around us. It was a slightly
stressful hour or two, but slowly the fleet started to spread out and
it became easier to sail. The wind was NE'ly force 3 but it gradually
increased to 4 - 5, giving us an excellent sail on a broad reach. We
picked up speed and were doing 6 - 7 knots, and touching 8.
Eventually, we decided to alter course and 'goosewing'
(that means putting the mainsail out one side and the genoa on the other,
using a pole off the mast to keep the genoa out). We rigged this up
just before dark, and continued at a healthy pace averaging about 6 - 6.5 knots
with a slightly reduced wind strength. We managed to phone back to the UK
and Ben spoke to his wife and children and I called my sister Ange in London who
had already been studying the ARC website (www.worldcruising.com/arc) and had
noticed (by looking at the 'fleet review' section) at 1200 hrs that we were
still on the mooring! This is scary stuff with modern
Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention about the subject
title. We have fruit and veg everywhere. The bilges are full of it,
and with most other lockers already filled with stores, we have put some in
baskets in the aft cabin (that was to be Ben's cabin, but now he and I
are sleeping in the saloon, so he can use it as a dressing room only and share
it with the vegetables) - but I didn't expect to find a large
bunch of green bananas wrapped in newspaper, and stowed on the top of the
hanging locker in the toilet! (Ben says that it may pay to make it clear
that there is more than one bunk in the saloon!).
Close to dusk, as our first evening
approached, and with many yachts still visible and close about us, we poled out
the genoa to help keep it filled overnight while the wind was behind us.
We had safely passed the 'acceleration zone' without any nasty surprises from
the wind! It was a lovely calm evening with about 10-14 knots of
wind - a great way to break us all in for the long trip. At
about this time I happened to glance at the GPS by the chart table - and
noticed that St. Lucia was 4 miles further away than when we were in the
marina a few hours earlier! Of course we are not aiming straight for the
Caribbean, since we have to head SSW to catch the NE trades - but it was a bit
of a disappointment nevertheless!
I came on watch at midnight and took over from
Sylvie. It was a beautiful night with a very bright full moon. I was
amazed at how many boats were on the horizon to port - it looked like a long
line of street lights! I felt very sorry for the officer of the watch on a
ship that was heading north on my watch. He must have had a near heart
attack when he saw 239 yachts heading south towards him!
No word from our Malo competition "Maymio" since early
after the start. They were ahead of us at the time, but we are just
sharpening our pencil and planning tactics! They said they would wrap tin
foil around their 'yellow brick' so we couldn't see where they
We have had a lovely first morning. The sun came
up and the sea was calm and a lovely breeze was blowing, perhaps a little less
than we would have liked, but lovely anyway.. Less yachts about us now as
we start to scatter.
A note from Sylvie to all in Quebec:
Bonjour a tous au Quebec!!!!
Et oui, la grande aventure a commencee. Il y avait
tellement de bateaux que s'en etait epeurant!! Mais tout c'est bien
deroule. Il faut s'imaginer que, non seulement, nous avions les bateaux de
l'ARC mais aussi les bateaux qui viennent avec nous sans etre membres de l'ARC.
Nous avons pris des photos et nous les afficherons une fois rendu de l'autre
Je me sens vraiment privilegiee de pouvoir faire un tel
Je pense a vous tous.
Grosses bises de la petite quebecoise!!!
Tomorrow we will tell you about Ben's bread-making
skills (if we are still alive to tell the tale!) - with compliments of
Woody Roscoe - who kindly sent her recipe to Sylvie!
Best wishes Paul, Sylvie and Ben
P.S. 2599 miles to St. Lucia!