1. We are off.. (Las Palmas - Antigua)

Telefonica Black
Lance Shepherd
Sun 19 Jan 2020 08:04
After a full day of preparations yesterday, another safety brief this morning AND a final 'last lunch' onshore, we left the dock at 1430 this afternoon. I am sure some of us had some butterflies in their stomachs considering that for 3 out of the 5 guests this is (one of) the first experience on a boat (ever!). You will be introduced to all of them during the course of the coming 10-12 days.
A VO70 like this Telefonica Black is not an easy boat to sail, let alone to hoist the sails. Just putting up the mainsail takes an average of 30 minutes, if all goes well. It is not a matter of simply putting an halyard on and hoist the sail, but someone has to be lifted up the mast and connect the first 3 sliders manually. 
When the sails were finally up, the wind dropped and we had to start the engine again. We were not too worried though because the predictions gave us 20 knots as soon as we got south of Gran Canaria because of wind deflection from the Island.
This time the group is split up into 3 watches rather than the 2 we had during the Gibraltar - Las Palmas leg. Each watch has 3 people and will be 3 hours on, 6 hours off. Because the length of the trip (2700 nm) we needed some extra space to stow food and gear which means that we have 8 available bunks to share with 10 people. Basically everybody is hot bunking (sharing) all the time. Whenever you come off watch you look for an empty bunk and make it your own for your 6 hours off. It is like musical chairs. The only difference is that there is always a bunk available Smile emoticon
Right now it is 0323 and it seems that everybody is settling in nicely. Some people have some trouble sleeping but this will change soon enough. Especially when you are not used to being (living) on a boat the sounds down below can be quite daunting. The wind picked up to 24 knots on the beam and we are doing about 10-12 knots of boat speed as were heavily reefed for the first night offshore. The sky is incredibly clear. If you look up for just a couple of minutes you will most likely see a shooting star and my watch has been lucky enough to see one of the most beautiful moonrises ever.
Life is good.