ARC Started in Style

Flyer of Lorne
Dave Sturrock
Mon 24 Nov 2008 12:50
26:58.08N 14:59.33W
Sunday 23 November
Flyer crossed the ARC start line at 13:00hrs local time in glorious conditions with a F 4 NE'ly breeze blowing and warm sunshine. It was a memorable send off with large crowds gathered at the marina and the whole fleet of 235 yachts putting out to sea together. We have some great team photos which will be posted on this website soon! It certainly felt like a major achievement for me to be starting  on time having arrived in port only 18hours previously. I cannot praise the efforts of all the crew more highly for having completed our extensive repair list and loading nearly 3 weeks worth of provisions onboard. We had Chieffy at the masthead repairing our troublesome tricolour LED which is now functioning normally, he also dropped in another gennaker halyard and added some protective tape at the upper spreaders to prevent chafing. From the moment we arrived at 07:30 on Saturday morning it has been a whirlwind of activity on board, We passed the ARC safety inspection with only some minor modifications required and then generally got stuck in to our repairs. One area that caused a bit of a scare was the steering linkage which had some play. Although we would have ideally replaced one of the rod connectors, some adjustments and tightening down of the autopilit fixing bolts has cured the problem for now. Hanse will forward the part we require to ST Lucia for replacement there. Once the top priority jobs had been completed, therfe was just time to attend the Hanse owners party hosted by Herr Shumacher on board his Hanse 630 Karina. We also dropped by to visit old friend Bruce Dingwall on his stylish 80' yacht Matelot but were told by his crew he was not  going to be onboard this year.
We are now some 85NM South of Gran Canaria making a steady 7 knots. We had hoisted our No2 Gennaker now nicknamed the "blue beast" shortly after starting the race but some 20knot gusts and broaches ( not again!) forced us to put it back in it's cage for a while. The wind has veered further to the East in thge last few hours allowing us to head SSW parallel to the West Sahara coast. We will continue South to approx latitude 20N to stay in the trade winds and keep up our boatspeed before heading West.
We have continued to receive lots of messages of support and good will which have all been passed on to the crew and are greatly appreciated by all.
Footnote. Our total passage from Kos where we departed on 01 November was 2,656 NM. I would like to acknowledge the fantastic efforts of Sandy, Richard, Zoe and brother in law Frank which made this epic voyage possible!
Dave Sturrock