Departure from Las Palmas

Tue 26 Nov 2019 09:25
Sunday 24th November 2019 was a day of some excitement. The departure from Las Palmas was quite a spectacle. There were three staggerred starts spaced half an hour apart. The multihulls first, followed by the racing division and then our cruising division at 12:30.

My fellow crew on Next Step had arrived from Lymington in September and had been back out in Las Palmas for 2 weeks. The boat was therefore prepared well in advance and although I was able to help with a few last minute tasks in the final few days, there was little to doon Sunday morning but wait. We had decided to leave the pontoon at around 12, with a 17+ day voyage ahead, there seemed little point in trying to win the start honours. I used the time to update my blog with the previous entry, however it was quite hurried and I missed a few details. I'll tell you first of Richard and Dan, my crewmates on Xplorer. They both managed to secure a spot on Fireball, sailing in the Racing Division. Dan is delighted - he's young, dumb and full of...enthusiasm (Dan you're not dumb, but it doesn't work with any other word - although I get the feeling you'd have crssed in a bathtubwith a hanky and an 81 year old skipper).

I had bid farewell to Peter and Val earlier in the day, not unsurprisingly they didn't hang around to see us off. Delightded though I am to be sailing across on Next Step, my departure is bittersweet for the time invested in Xplorer and the time that Peter has invested in his crew. We will sail together again one day. Fair winds, my friend.

The scene on the pontoons was one of huge emotios with wives tearfully saying goodbye to husbands, and the other way round, excited young familieson the pontoons, crews embracing across guardrails, friends old and new with shared dreams and goals, a shared experience to come. A not insignificant crowd had gathered on the mole and there was a brass band playing. Las Palmas is a large, thriving port and city, all the same I am sure that the ARC with it's 200+ boats and 1000+ visitors contributes to it's economy and is at least noted on it's calendar.

In my own understated way I was excited and a little nervous to be finally embarking on an adventure which had grown over the years from something I was vaguely aware of , scared of, thought I might like to do, doing!

Of course I would have liked for my loved ones to have been there to experience the spectacle and to be a part of it, but I tried not to dwell on that fact. I had spoken to those that might want to hear from me, and those that I love before I left. I enjoy sailing and rather than waving me off I would prefer it if you, the people who care enough to read this blog would come and sail with me, I look forward to sharing it with you. I sail mostly with people I don't know and although it's a great way to met new friends (and the odd nutter), it would be great to share new experiences with you.

Love D on the C xx

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