World ARC 2016 - Day 1-January 9th – A Gentle Sta rt

Steve and Lynda Cooke
Sun 10 Jan 2016 00:02

13:65.81N 61:37.0W

The Start of the World ARC 2016

Day 1 - A gentle start.......

After lots of preparation and a few more repairs than we would have cared for, its finally the day of the start.

WOW, Very different from all the fanfare and razzmatazz of the ARC start from Las Palmas de Grand Canaria . The start of the World ARC seems a much more low key, but friendly affair. No bands nor crowds of cheering spectators.

Just lots of friendly waves and help from the other ARC travellers that we have come to know over the last week of parties, and the boats that have been around us in the Marina.

Lovely, friendly, and very exciting.

Steve completes all the formalities of checking out with Customs, completing crew exchanges from Peter and Karen to Chris and Lesley, and arguing with the Marina over the electricity bill "No we don't have blooming air-conditioning on all the time on Nina, we are a sailing boat, not a gin palace, and there must be some jolly big mistake on the meter old chum!"

Steve and Chris spend an hour dancing around the foredeck, setting up the spinnaker pole for downwind sailing, whilst Lynda and Lesley carry out vital negotiations with the fruit boat, using up the last of our Eastern Caribbean Dollars.

Skipper calls for World ARC tee shirts, and we are helped to let go by our lovely American neighbours.

We are off!

Then its out into Rodney Bay, about 15 knots of breeze, and a downpour to wash everything at the start T shirts, shorts and rain. Lovely. That's better.

Finally the committee boat counts down the 10 minute, 5 minute warnings, and then we are over the line with only a few minutes delay, past a flotilla of cheering and horn-blowing tenders and RIBs and keeping well up towards the fist mark, Southwards down through the channel between Barrel O' Beef rock and St Lucia.

Its a beat up the coast, and amazing to see all the mono-hulls, Nina included, doing really well up to the mark, leaving behind all the Cats, the VHF ringing with whinging complaints about the course set, much to our delight. We are again amazed by how badly even big Catamarans beat up into the wind. Never mind boys, you'll fly downwind over the next 800 miles.

We turn round the mark, and head downwind, into the Blue towards Santa Marta, Colombia.

Poled out Gennaker and full main working beautifully wing-on-wing.

Just as we are enjoying a peaceful sunset, we are startled by the roar of a twin engined plane, at mast height, and buzzing low between the fleet, heading for St Lucia behind us. Photographer? Speed junkie? Drug runner? speculation runs rife. Loony certainly!


The SSB works!!

Wooohooo, we pick up Carango on the evening Net, and finally we have working equipment instead of a decoration! Lots of visits from Yachtfunk Jeorge in St Lucia has paid off it seems. Chris Best will be extremely jealous. Sorry mate, It'll be waiting for you in New Zealand!

The wind drops, and after lots of hesitation, we are finally forced to follow the rest of the fleet, with engine on, motor sailing into the black of the night with 6 knots of wind behind us. The GRIB files give more wind after midnight. We will at least recharge the batteries for a few hours and save some Generator.

We have started our adventure, We are headed for Panama, and then into the Pacific Ocean.