Day 1 (...by Spiller the Cabin Boy)
Mon 22 Nov 2010 16:08
Resplendent in our team shirts, caps (thanks to the Skipper's wife, Sue) and flower garlands (thanks to the first mate's wife, Nicole) and a large crowd, including families, friends and local brass bands waving and serenading from the harbour front, we set off away from our mooring.......100m later we were spinning around out of control in the middle of marina, without steering as a transmission cable had just snapped!!). With other yachts swerving to avoid us, we managed to narrowly avoid catastrophe by getting a nearby rib to nudge us broadside back alongside a nearby quay side!!!
And so it was that Mariposa of Southampton, already re-named "Carry on Sailing" by a number of the more serious race crews, became the only yacht to miss the (by all accounts) spectacular 25th ARC start, as 249 boats, decked out in colourful flags of the world, surged out on mass out into the Atlantic?!!
2.5 hours later (with a temporary throttle control, carefully fashioned by the Skipper, using wooden clothes pegs, we slipped almost un-noticed (other than by a couple of local boats, which gave a little ironic ripple of applause) out of the harbour and off into the evening sunshine....oh god what have I let myself in for?!!)
Our 1st supper (of pre-made up lasagne and green beans) was delayed, as Nick (AKA Willy, Wilmott -Brown, Klaus the Arian, the first mate etc.) the allocated cook for that evening, managed to turn off the oven which had just be pre-heated, by a hungry crew......BRILLIANT! However, when it did arrive it was very nice and washed down with a good Rioja, we set about our night watch rota. On reflection we all agreed that at the end of day one, our team song should be The Bennie Hill Theme tune!!!
If it wasn't for one other yacht which had to return with a defective comms antenna, we would have been the very last of the fleet, but, with some good wind at dusk and through into the 1st night we gradually caught up and, much to my surprise, began to overtake a few of the stragglers!
When sunrise came (I was on watch - it was beautiful & tres tranquil) we had passed several other yachts in the night and several more on the horizon.........Carry on Sailing were back in the race!
We have seen plenty of yachts and larger vessels around today and have tried various sail configurations, in an attempt to most effectively harness the wind and to hunt down the rest of the fleet. As evening approaches we surrounded by a super-pod of literally 100's of playful dolphins and are back on a southern track heading down towards the Cape Verde islands; having covered a reasonable 120 miles in the 1st 24 hours.....maybe we might even make St. Lucia before all our families have to fly home for Xmas??!!!!