Yes, we are there yet. 14.04.8N 60.57.6W
Kantara Atlantic Odyssey
Fri 9 Dec 2011 14:40
We crossed the line yesterday morning at 10.37 to the sound of fog horns from our friends on Chosen One who had come out in their tender to greet us. There was absolutely no wind, so we hoisted the genoa 500m from the finish line and using the boat speed from our engine managed to 'sail' over the line with crew on the leeward rail.
The next hour was all a bit of a haze as we entered the marina and were welcomed at our berth to the sound of steel drums and received a much appreciated beer and punch. It was good to catch up with some of the other crews and hear their stories and it did strike us that the vast majority of the ARC fleet were significantly larger than dear Kantara.
Rodney Bay is absolutely beautiful and far smaller, greener and less developed than I had imagined. Everyone is extremely laid back and welcoming and the arrival procedures and administration could have been straight out of that new Caribbean comedy Death in Paradise, but without the death bit.
Joe did us proud and managed to secure us an apartment, next to the one we are saying at with our families next week, and we have Kantara moored up on a private berth at the bottom of the small garden - as they say, it does not get any better than this.
So that is the end of our maiden Atlantic crossing and I am looking forward to the journey up the Caribbean and then back across to Sotogrande in Spain in May. If you enjoyed following the blog and fancy a try yourself, there are still a couple of places on the next two legs so why not give it a go?
I really cannot do justice to the crew who were absolutely brilliant. The teamwork was incredible, we had fantastic food, excellent sailing and everyone pulled together in adversity such as when the asymmetric went swimming and when there was a call for all hands on deck in a midnight squall. You may also be surprised to hear that given five of us lived in a fairly confined space for nearly three weeks, Kantara is remarkably tidy and clean. But more than anything we all had a great time, a good laugh and the experiences will be with us forever
Finally special thanks to everyone who has supported us in the build up and during the trip and a very special thanks to my family and friends for supporting me, to Ella, Becca and Lewis for putting up with my distractions with the whole event and especially to Suzy for her full support and encouragement in fulfilling this long held ambition.
I'm just getting my head around the fact that its all over . The crossing of the Atlantic seems to have been occupying my thoughts for the past two years . I must say it was much better than I thought. After the first week I got into the routine and the broken sleep. I was very concerned leaving Las Palmas and heading into an unknown time at sea with nowhere to go if we ran out of food or water .As it was we had more than enough of both . I have learned a great deal about sailing from Andy and the other crew members and have now got my head around celestial navigation thanks to a very patient teacher ,Jason. Thank you to Andy for inviting me along and getting me here safe and sound. Also thanks to Lisa Nancy and Connor for letting me escape for so long in the build up as well as the actual crossing. Thanks to my business partner Jon for putting up with my absences and keeping things going at Copsemill, No holidays for me for the next two years? This will be my last blog entry so thanks for following us , I hope you got a flavour of what 5 blokes get up to when left to their own devices for 18 days on a boat.
I would like to concur with Andys' comments on the brilliant crew. To live in such close proximity in what resembled a tumble dryer for most of the journey makes every day functions such as sleeping and cooking a real task. Everyone pulled together without a complaint, even when a sudden lurch sent your freshly made meal/coffee crashing across the deck, or the halyard dropped the spinnaker into the drink.
I was surprised how normal being at sea became, and the sight of land came with mixed feelings about the journey ending. I wasn't desperate for any of the luxuries that the impending landfall had to offer and that's testimony to being surrounded by great crewmates, enjoying fantastic food and for the most part enjoying sailing.
I have to clear my name from the libelous accusations regarding my chocolate habit. The prosecution has produced no evidence and on cleaning the boat no wrappers or chocolate was found.
Thanks to my family for allowing me the time away from home to indulge myself in such a wonderful adventure. And of course a big thanks to Andy who has put this whole thing together-when he said he wanted to sail the Atlantic and I agreed it would be a good idea, I didn't think you meant it!
I thought I would be relieved to see land but I had mixed feelings. As Andy, Joe and Mike have already mentioned, we all got on very well for for 18 days and all we had to think about was eating, sleeping, sailing and the most important - VMG (velocity made good). So it as not like we had to get off the yacht! I would like to thank Andy, who came up with the idea and made this all possible. Mike and Joe for great food and company, Jason for his sea craft, company, celestial navigation instruction and tooth jokes, my business partner Don for putting up with my very long absence and my family for their support.
Would I do it again? Yes - but with better weather reports. The daily ARC report was something like NE - SE 9-22 knots. Which is too general to be of any use.
Thank you for reading the bog entries and we hope at least one of you will be tempted to give the ARC a go in the future. The ARC is a bit surreal. Some of the yachts in the marina are amazing and must be worth millions. In addition everyone competing is able to take weeks off, so for me, it was a glimpse into another world.
I turned up sheepishly in Gran Canaria twenty hours before the start knowing that I had not contributed to the preparations which I know was an awful lot of hard work. The real hard part of the work had been done and I am eternally grateful to Andy who spent days, weeks and months putting this whole adventure together. I had the easiest job of all-the sailing, and what a fantastic experience that was. A real bond was made instantly between the members of the crew-there is really nowhere to hide when you are in such close quarters for such a long period of time and the true character of all on board are laid bare for all to see. What great banter and we didn't pass a day without a laugh at someone's expense.
I apologies to all of you who may have been offended at the sight of no teeth but my gums have had a lovely holiday.
I have the good fortune of having the last word and here it is-- Mike spent 30% of his time in his boudoir where I did find chocolate stains,40% on the helm which was always sticky after his watch and the rest of the time in the heads and there were all sorts of stains in there! He was the only one who didn't lose weight so draw your own conclusions.
Thanks to everyone involved including the ground crew who supplied us with position reports and weather information