Ready for the off

Paul Huntley
Fri 21 Nov 2008 09:09

28:07.71N15:25.55W                Skippers Blog, Las PalmasGran Canaria: Friday 21st November 2008.


It is a wet start to this Friday morning here in Las Palmas; we have just had a short shower to dampen the decks. Since my arrival in Las Palmas last Saturday with Dave (Needham) we met up with Bob (Jeffery) the first mate who had come down the Monday before to start the ball rolling. With Bob's help we had completed the safety inspection without any problems, the rigging check proved to be a little harder . Jerry the rigger(courtesy of Admiral Insurance) discovered that a Clevis pin on the cap shroud (top of the mast) was undersized and needed replacing, although the insurance company eventually accepted this, however Bob and I felt we should have another look so we sent Dave up the mast to check it out. On his way fitting anti chafe material to the spreaders (cross trees).The Clevis pin was 2/3mm undersized and wearing so I called in a local rigger to fit the correct pin that I had collected from Tate and Crew at Sovereign Harbour, thank you James for you help and advice.

Nick (Pomfret) arrived on Monday meeting up for lunch by the pool at the Santa Catalina Hotel (tough life)for lunch after one of the many lectures provided by World Cruising, the ARC organising company. Returning to Libertad James (Cowles) our final crewman was sitting in the cockpit looking a little lost. 

I had asked Yachtfunck, a German company to come and check out the SSB(long range radio) and they discovered we were transmitting in only half power, relieving me of 300 Euros they fitted spacers and new antenna cable to the back stay. Dave, Bob and I spent the evening at the local supermarket shopping for the non perishable stores for five people for three weeks, armed with menus and a very large shopping list we filled to overflowing two very large shopping trolleys, you should have seen the check out girls face. 

Our troubles continued when we discovered a broken hinge on the port side saloon deck hatch. This had to be removed and taken to a specialist welder to repair, another problem solved! 

Wednesday evening was fancy dress party night, the theme being Caribbean/Pirates. The crew dressed in very colourful shirts and took full advantage to relax for a few hours and enjoy the atmosphere. How’s the head Bob? The highlight of his night was winning a golf umbrella and having his picture taken with two promotional girls.

On Thursday morning a team from Hallberg Rassy arrived onboard to offer advice on the crossing. They spent a couple of hours checking out the steering and engine room as well as offering some useful tips on downwind sailing ,thank you David and Pers.

The riggers turned up at 10:00am and in less than an hour had changed the starboard cap shroud clevis pin. Another job jobbed!

The atmosphere here in Las Palmas is electric with  more than two hundred yachts from countries as far apart at U.S.A to Australia, the predominant nationality is British but, we are flanked by Norwegians in addition there are many German,Dutch,Belgian,Sweedish and French boats to add to the international flavour that the A.R.C. is so famous for. The atmosphere is magical, the tension is growing with every boat doing last minute rig checks and loading stores, the pontoons are a hive of activity.

Saturday morning is check- out time, clearing the boat and crew out of Las Palmas, the final skippers briefing is at noon then a farewell party in the evening before the mass start at 13:00 on Sunday.

I will try to get all crew members to write a piece for the blog on a daily basis once at sea. Wish us a bon voyage where ever you are.


So best wishes to all you Libertad blog watchers, Paul.