Day 17

Majic 2's great ARC 2006 adventure
Peter Howe
Wed 13 Dec 2006 17:46

Position at 08.07GMT on 12 December 2006 was 14.04.80N, 60.57.60W. 123 nautical miles sailed in last 20 hours on the boat log. Arrived St Lucia.


Most 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.


During 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 dark.


Our 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.


Fortunately 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.


So 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.




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