27:37.43N 015:23.98W at sunset on the first day.
Nicely kitted out in our team uniform of white shirts, blue shorts and silly
grins we had a photograph taken by our Spanish neighbours on their boat
'Bet'. 'Bet' also gave us a bottle of wine for a scare and a minor bump a
few days before.
Then it all started going horribly wrong as we pulled out. It was blowing
fairly hard and the turn took us across the lazy-line of another
neighbouring boat and it got wrapped around our rudder. We had to be hauled
back in to our berth by the crew of 'Bet'. On the second attempt we got the
lazy-line of 'Bet' wrapped around our prop and full marks to Ian for diving
in and untangling it. Only Johnny Foreigner would think stretching ropes out
in the water is a good yacht-mooring idea.
To the sound of brass bands we finally left the marina and anchored in the
main harbour to try to get our sails furled on where we could face into the
wind. Job done, we discovered that a clevis pin holding the in-mast furling
gear in place had come off and fallen inside the mast. With half an hour to
the start we were still anchored with a mainsail on the deck and with a
police-launch shouting at us to get a move on.
Making the best of it we motored out of the harbour just in time for the
starting gun and crossed the line under a reefed genoa. It could have been
slicker but we were far from the last to go. After contemplating a return to
the marina for spare parts that probably would need importing, we decided to
press on and managed to retrieve the clevis pin with a wire coathanger. A
squally shower stopped us having another go with the mainsail. It is now
dark and we can see the lights of Gran Canaria in the distance and the
lights of other ARC yachts around us. Unfortunately the mainsail is still on
the deck. Only another three weeks to go.
OPEX for today runs to two sides: BE insider comment from Ian but we're all