Position at 08.07GMT on 12
was 14.04.80N, 60.57.60W. 123 nautical miles sailed in last 20 hours on
the boat log. Arrived St
of the day was spent coaxing Majic to maintain a direct heading to St
Lucia at a speed greater than 5 knots. After 2 weeks of
wind 'on tap' it seemed so strange to be idling along as if we were on a
cruise.The problem was that every time we hoisted a headsail the boat needed to
head up by 30 degrees in order to take any benefit from the additional canvas.
This pointed us towards Martinique,
and would have meant a gybe back towards St Lucia
at some point. Our great fear was that the wind would totally die on us at that
time, and the current would carry us further to the north-east and away from
the finish. We eventually settled on the direct course, bareheaded.
the afternoon we received an 'all ships' call on VHF Channel 16 from a Canadian
skipper. We responded, and he told us he was a Jeanneau 54DS named 'Carina X'
(or something like that) bound from Las Palmas
to St Lucia. They had left the day
after us, and he was keen to finish at the same point as us so that he could
compare times with the ARC fleet. He proposed a rendezvous with us at a
pre-arranged waypoint at the tip of St Lucia
for a photo session, even though we were both estimating that position in the
suspicions were raised further when he contacted us again at midnight,
asking for our exact position and estimates for the waypoint. When we started
to respond very vaguely on positions, he then asked repeatedly many questions
such as how many crew, their composition, how many women on board etc. With
that, Pete Norey, who grew up in London
and generally trusts very few, switched off radio and navigation lights,
fearing that a boarding party might be on their way.
nothing of such exciting potential transpired, and we were soon preparing
the boat for arrival in the dark. Assisted by several line squalls, which
brought additional wind and a lot of rain, we finally made the gybe point to
the north of the island at 06.30 GMT, and lay the boat on a course to clear the
outer rocks of Rodney Bay, following a series 2 Swan 46 'Lowly Worm'. As we entered
the bay we rounded up towards the finish line and rolled out the #1 genoa.
First a reach, then close hauled. Majic fairly accelerated, lee gunwales awash,
and we were told that a photographer would be coming out in a rib, and could we
also pass the line as close as possible to the committee boat. Their wish was
executed perhaps too well, for as we crossed the line at 08.07GMT, a mere 10
feet from the committee boat, several camera flashes exploded in our faces and
a collective 'wow!' was heard from the ARC officials aboard.
we had done it. Four '50 somethings' and the multiple grandad realising one of
their most cherished pipedreams. 3000 and odd miles in a boat not much bigger
than two VW campers. Handshakes all round, grins from ear to ear, all aches and
pains instantly forgotten, sails down; and good old Majic 2 motored
through the marina entrance as though it had been out for no more than a trip
around the bay.