Rodney Bay, St Lucia

Karma Daze
Chris and Penny Manley
Sat 22 Dec 2012 17:54
“14:05N 060:57W”
We arrived in Rodney Bay after a fast overnight sail.  The wind increased during the evening to a force 5 and we belted along.  We actually had to slow the boat down by furling the genoa, as we wanted to arrive in daylight.
We crossed the finishing line at 09.07 on Tuesday 18th December after 21 days at sea, much to the surprise of our friends on “Spray” who had got in the previous evening and were not expecting us until the afternoon.
After crossing the finishing line we made our way into the marina.  All ARC boats get a big welcome as they come into the marina and we were no exception.  There is a welcome group playing musical instruments, people blowing horns, people clapping and cheering, and of course we had our own musical accompaniment as Richard played us in on his trumpet, with “When the saints go marching in” and “Rule Britannia” – 2 tunes he can play without too many bum notes!  Then we were presented with a fruit basket and a bottle of rum, and a certificate to hang on the wall.
Last night was the final event – the prize giving.  Prizes are awarded for the 4 fastest boats in each division, overall winner, oldest skipper, youngest skipper etc.  Penny got a bottle of rum for being an SSB net controller and her picture on the big screen over the stage.
The final boat of the rally has just arrived to a very noisy welcome as everyone came out to greet them.  One of the highlights of the rally is the reception at the end.
Overall, the rally has been an experience.  We can’t quite believe we’re here and without any major breakages.  The weather wasn’t quite what we had expected - the trade winds were reluctant to blow, but we had some great sailing with a few terrifying moments.  We can now relax for a few days here – we’re going out with a couple of other boats for Christmas dinner, and then we will leave here on 28th and make our way down the Grenadines to Grenada.
We come home at the end of January for a couple of months and to meet our first grandchild, who is due in mid February.  We have made lots of new friends and had a great time – probably eaten and drunk too much, but it’s all part of the experience.
So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we’ll catch up with you in the New Year.