Thursday 8th December

Fri 9 Dec 2005 17:11
Title: Message
Position : Rodney Bay St Lucia
Thursday started with the boat flying at 9 knots towards St Lucia. We had continued on the same tack as the previous night and with a good run we felt we could make the finish line just before night fall. The wind built during the morning and the boat speed gradually increased as we surged forwards riding down the rollers.
With the end in sight we were all looking forward to a few beers and a meal on dry land. Things were going well with the fine tuned boat and our speed increased to hit a maximum of 15.2 knots with the biggest wave surge. It was clear we were going to do a lot of miles today and in the end we were very pleased to hit our maximum mileage in one day of 220 miles.
Hot beef curry was on the menu for lunch, at the request of Tom, and then we all settled down to see who could spot land first. Martinique came into view off the the starboard bow, Charlie being the first to see it. We started to feel the finish line was close.
We passed the lower tip of Martinique and suddenly the wind had dropped. If we were going to get in before dark we needed to do something to increase the speed. The skipper shouted for the spinnaker and soon we had the big blue sail flying again.
The outline of St Lucia formed on the horizon and then we suddenly saw our first competitor coming in from the southern route. Let's race them to the finish line shouted the skipper. Before long there was another sail and then another with five boats coming into view one after the next. It was soon clear that these boats were going to finish before us and our attention was back onto trying to get in before dark. Unfortunately we were still 3 miles out when the sky went black and so we ended up navigating ourselves over the finish line in the dark which was a difficult experience.
There were four large tankers anchored up off Rodney Bay. They were lit up like Christmas trees but we were not able to tell if they were at anchor or motoring towards us. There were a few rocks to avoid as we rounded Pigeon Point and then with some slow and careful navigation of the boat we approached the finish line.
Tom piped us over the line in traditional style.
A photographer in a rib came out to meet us and take some team shots and then it was into the marina. The entrance to the marina was very tight and on the way in we almost came nose to nose with a party Cat on it's way out for an evening of fun with reggae music blaring out.  The skipper took his time and we found our way through the marina and finally tied up at the berth at 18.30.
There was a welcome team from the ARC office waiting for us with rum punches for the crew and a basket of fresh local fruits. All of the marinas facilities were explained to us and we were invited to a welcome party at the Yacht Club that night.  We tidied up the boat at record pace and then headed for the bar.
To get to Yacht Club we needed to take a water taxi to the other side of the marina and we met Del Boy one of the water taxi drivers. He turned out to be a great character who for a few dollars was going to organize everything we needed during our stay here! The welcome event was sponsored by Heineken so it was free beer all night! What a shame!!
Nowcrew out.