ARC. The first 5 days

Terry/ Nicola Flinn
Fri 1 Dec 2006 04:21
22:39.000N 22:57.000W
The day we have been saving for, planning for and looking forward to has finally arrived: we're about to fulfil our ambition of crossing the Atlantic in our own boat. We have shopped, cooked, cleaned, prepared and we are as ready as we'll ever be. The start was an amazing spectacle with brass bands playing and hundreds of people gathered on the breakwaters to wave us off ; over 200 yachts getting into position,and the crews waving and calling out '"See you in St Lucia", "' Good Luck ", " Have a Good One " etc. Then we were off on a journey of a lifetime; the sun was shining and the winds were behind us and we were sailing away on a voyage of  approximately 2880 miles.
During our first ' Happy Hour ' , Bob produced a ' Sea Survival Bag ' that he says will occasionally appear. From it he produced an amusing poem entitled ' A Prayer for the Middle Aged '. The first night was rather stressful as there were so many yachts around us, but by daybreak, there were only 4 nearby. During the 2nd day we spent a lot of time trying to get the right combination of sails, but the winds kept changing. While we were eating supper, we were joined by a pod of little dolphins that kept leaping out of the water. Throughout  Day 3, we had a big swell with strong, gusty winds which made the boat rock and roll. It was not a restful night for any of us, because the big waves were making us surge and there was lots of creaking, groaning and banging, the low point being when a rope running through the spinnaker pole snapped and the headsail started flogging.
Day 4 started with much calmer conditions and we had another pod of dolphins frolicking in our bow-wave, including one with a tiny baby at her side. This was a frustrating day with the sails and we couldn't make our desired course because of the wind direction. Day 5 was even worse, as the winds dropped right off and we were sailing very slowly, with our computer predicting that we would get to St Lucia sometime in 2007!  Nevertheless, morale on board is excellent, especially when we receive e-mails from friends and family back home