We passed scrutineering on the second visit, and spent a frenetic couple of days sorting out problems with the water maker and navigation instruments. The manufacturers have technicians in Las Palmas to help with last minute problems, but they were inundated with requests and could only give us limited time. Of particular concern was a low voltage alarm on the instrument circuits when we installed a ‘man overboard’ system which only arrived last week. This is a new Raymarine product, and we were worried that it still had some glitches. We finally traced it to a general low voltage situation in the power bus, and Pete Lanoe (he who builds Land Rovers from scrap) designed and installed a work-around which brought everything back on line. By the eve of the start of the race the boat and crew declared themselves 100% ready.
Things have not been helped by a major water leak in the port. Water supplies have been restricted to certain periods of the day, and this initially caused quite some inconvenience with the ablutions facilities. Our water maker has already proved a sensible acquisition, albeit processing suspect quality marina sea water.
The organised seminars and parties continued apace. We were interviewed by Yachting Monthly but are not sure whether we will get into print. The journalist seemed peeved by Ron’s reply to the question on how well we’ll do in the racing class. When asked where did we think we would finish; quick as a flash Ron retorted ‘Rodney Bay, St Lucia I hope’
Poor Tommy Cooper impersonation as Majic crew leave for the ARC fancy dress party
In between daily visits to the hospital to change the dressings on his leg, the skipper turned his attention to a final topping up of the provisions, particularly liquid refreshments. After much discussion we settled on 100 litres of potable water as back-up for our water maker, 260 cans of beer, 2 cases of vino tinto and 10 litres of long-life milk. Once inside the supermercardo his enthusiasm to purchase bore no relation to the agreed list; particularly when it came to potatoes. 5kg became 30kg and 1 bottle of oil became 8. It has been suggested that we catch a few fish on the way, and open a fish and chip shop mid-Atlantic.
Last minute provisions caused the boat to settle 5 cms deeper in the water
The day before the start we awoke to rain, with wind gusting to 25 knots. However the weather blew through by early evening, and we were treated to an exceptional firework display in the port at midnight. The weather for the start is forecast to be light winds from the North-East, which would imply a spectacular spinnaker run of the 233 boat fleet down the east coast of Gran Canaria, before hanging a right for the Caribbean.
Before turning in for the last night we decided to present a bottle of malt whiskey to our next door neighbours, Senor and Senora Hernandez, who own a motor boat, and have had to put up with the usual noise and commotion that comes from Majic. They promptly reciprocated by presenting us with bottles of wine and Trinidadian rum. El Senor then hauled all of his fishing gear from below deck, poured us glasses of rum and proceeded to demonstrate for over an hour, particularly to our fisherman Mik, how he catches 25kg tuna with a motorised fishing rod. Such friendly and hospitable people. We have all been impressed by the friendly attitude of all the local people we have come in contact with; hospital staff, bar and restaurant waiters, chandlery counter staff to name a few.