Day 17
Fri 11 Dec 2009 02:16
I will write this last report in phases as we will approach the finish line in St. Lucia.
Sailing during the night was smooth with the wind which carried us on a direct line towards the channel between  St.Lucia and Martinique. We made 176 miles in the last 24 hours. (noon till noon ). The afternoon was sunny , the wind weakened despite the weather forecast which promised the opposite. Nevertheless, we are progressing with 6 to 7 miles per hour.
The count-down has started !
It is now the last 24 hours till the finish line. At 6 pm local time we still have about 120 miles to sail. Crew is already making the plan to explore the island while I worry how to get the defective things fixed.
There are over 200 boats arriving in a week and many of them have some problems. I called for the service of generator but got no committment.
I will visit them tomorrow afternoon to get a date. I also have to decide
how I will get my spinnaker for repair to Martinique. Going by boat would be the simplest - a 30 mile trip. But there are 2 visits to the customs in St. Lucia and Martinique. We shall most likely do the trip on Sunday and be back on Monday.
During the night the wind turned from  ESE to S und we were pushed more towards the north. We did a gybe at least 2 to 3 hours too late
and then we spent the whole morning sailing south along the coast of Martinique and the St. Lucia channel. We were listening on the YHF
radio how the boats we were sailing together last night were crossing
the finish line. We did enjoy good wind on this last 60 miles and crossed the finish line at 12:19:59 by the end of the day 17.
Considering that we lost spinnaker very early in the Rally and that we decided not to stretch the rigging and the sails, the position 109 among
230 boats on the start line is reasonably good and the whole crew is happy with the voyage itself and the outcome.
After crossing the finish line, we continued to the beach, threw anchor and jumped into the warm sea ( 28 degrees ). Only then we motored into Marina, got a space with 110V and connector we did not have.
After the welcome drink - fruit jus with a lot of rhum, we moved the boat to a 220v pier. I then did all the customs and immigration formalities and reserved the space for GIN'S untill January 25, 2010. I still need to find somebody who will take a look at the boat every day.
Wish me good luck in finding the service people to get the boat ready again. I am flying home on Wednesday to decorate the  Christmas tree and will continue with the blog at the end of January when I will start exploring the Windward and Leeward islands... Let me know if you are interested to join me either in the Carribean or on the way back to Europe in May/June next year ( British  Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Azores, Southern England )...
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year