Day 19 And the Finishing of the ARC 2005 Atlantic crossing

Fri 9 Dec 2005 23:56
Hi All its official Lazy Dawn crossed the finish line at 16.40 local time / 20.40 UTC today after 19 days 8 hours and 40 minutes of sailing!!!
The total logged miles are 3050.11 miles, ( Average speed of 6.6 knots ) a little more than the rumb line but we need to remember this was no ordinary year for the ARC. With tropical storms and hurricanes in mid Atlantic the stage was set for a rough and rocky ride across. I have to say its been an amazing experience. Top speed was 13.9 knots and max wind speed of 57 knots!! Some really big seas to battle against.
The three of us have pulled together really we and have driven Lazy Dawn hard for the whole trip and can be very proud of our performance as we arrived today there are few boats of our size in Rodney Bay. We will not know our final placing until the handicaps and engine hours are recorded. However its clear that we have done really well. We are the first  Beneteau 40.7 home, this is especially pleasing as we only had a crew of 3!!
The last 48 hours have been really quite punishing as we roll down some huge waves with only the Genoa out. The trauma with the kite had cooled us down a bit and made us take a slightly less aggressive approach to the finish. However we still maintained excellent boat speed and still logged mileages of over 189 miles in 24 hours.
The big issues was if the engine would start or not and if the prop would drive us our moorings or not!! This pressure kept us focused as we tried as hard as we could to keep the boat speed up so as to finish in day light today so we could sail onto a mooring if needed!!!
The sight of land was made around 13.45 local time, this signalled that we would achieve land fall before night fall ! St Lucia was a sight with high green cliffs with big mountains. The sea changed from deep blue to green as the depth reduced and the Atlantic swell was pushed up the island shelf. The sea state became very rough and we had a final few miles of sledge ride before we turned around the top of the island past Pigeon Island and  into Rodney Bay.
The sea state and wind changed as we made the turn around the island and for the first time in 2 weeks we had the wind on the nose. We had a frantic 10 minutes shortening the Genoa and getting the main up with a third reef in it for the final blast to the line. Jo and Peter pulled all the lines as I screamed orders from the helm as if I had a full race crew before me! ( Similar to the Fastnet finish) We just managed to beat another boat Wonderland to the line and it was done we had completed the ARC 2005!!
After the line we started the engine and YES it worked!! We motored in made our mooring and then the friends started to arrive!!  Friends made in Las Palmas came to say hi and my parents joined us for a glass of bubbles. Its been quite hectic since we arrived and I don't think it has really sunk in yet!!
We are out to dinner now and a full report with pictures will follow soon.
Chris, Jo & Peter