Trip Update - 21st December 2008 Rodney Bay, St Lucia
Position: 14:04:49N 60:56:98W
Firstly, an apology for the delay in writing this up. As you can imagine, it has been quite a hectic week since our arrival!
Our last day at sea was a fast one, with 20kts of wind and a fair sea. Aware that we wanted to try to arrive at a reasonably sociable hour, we put up all sail and pushed Nutmeg hard. I think this was our fastest run in the whole Transat, averaging over 6.5kts for several hours at a time, and doing over 150 miles midnight-midnight. We had to swap helmspersons every half hour as it was quite heavy to steer.
As it went dark, we could see the
light looms from both
Out of the blue, Eric from
“Saefthinge” called us on the VHF – a very welcome welcome, and a sign that we
were close! Then I rang Sarah on
the satphone and gave her an ETA, and called the ARC Finish line when we were 5
miles away, as per the instructions.
The last five miles were painfully slow, and we listened to the boat
ahead of us, “Sophie” (a Hallberg Rassy 40) struggle to find the finish line in
the dark. I had plugged the
coordinates into the chartplotter but even so, we nearly sailed past
We dropped the pole for what seemed
like the first time in a long time, and hardened up on port tack and had a nice
close reach into
After dropping sails, finding
fenders and warps and then struggling to find the entrance to the lagoon, we
then motored into
We were told our berth number and turned into it with the help of an ARC official with a spotlight. There on the pontoon in the darkness was a woman with a pushchair. Was it – could it really be – it IS Sarah!! Before the boat had even stopped, I leapt off the boat and into my lovely wife’s arms – a very very happy boy! Rob, Pam and Sally tied the boat up and suddenly we were all on dry land!
One very happy Daddy
We were welcomed by the
The crew of Nutmeg arrive in St Lucia
How does it feel to have sailed
What was the
Arriving, plus all those innumerable occasions in the middle of the ocean when you are steering, on your own, with a fair breeze and the moon and stars to guide you.
What was the low point?
The water tank bursting 2 hours before the start. We got our bad luck out of the way early!
Our list of breakages was comparatively small and I was very pleased with how little went wrong. I think that we only used a couple of plasters from the first aid kit – that in itself is a success in my book. Here is what broke:
What did we run out of?
Nothing! We arrived with about 40 litres of water left (2-3 days) and about 1/3 of our diesel capacity. We still had lovely juicy oranges, slightly soft tomatoes, onions, potatoes, cheese, plus a whole stack of tinned, canned and dried foods. I am absolutely amazed at how the fresh fruit/veg lasted – I really didn’t think we would still be eating fresh food in the last week of the trip. We ate well.
Well, the morning after arriving, Rob and Pam went off to do their own thing, to make the most of the few days they had left before returning to the US, and Sally was busy sorting herself out a ride on another boat, so Sarah and the girls moved back aboard and the boat quickly turned into chaos as the girls found their old toys and books.
The next few days were a mix of celebrations, housekeeping jobs, sleeping and relaxing. Most nights there has been some kind of party going on, and the whole marina has been a sort of mutual admiration society as different boats congratulate one another. Nutmeg is moored right on the main pontoon so we have had hundreds of visitors and admirers and a lot of compliments on our boat and on our relatively fast time.
The housekeeping jobs are not quite
as painful in the Caribbean as they are in
We filled the tanks with diesel and water, and connected up to electricity – appreciating all three so much more when you have had to ration so carefully for so long. A long ocean passage is a great exercise in frugality and self-sufficiency, I would recommend it to any 1st-world consumer!
Back to being a family boat
We’ve spent lots of time socializing
with the other boats, and it has been a real party atmosphere. We had a barbeque on the beach with our
Dutch friends, and have become good friends with some of the other British boats
who we talked to on the crossing, such as “Vaiva” and “Quasar IV”. Everywhere you go, you meet other ARC
people and everyone is so friendly.
I would definitely do the ARC again if crossing the
Barbeque on Reduit beach
Saturday night was Prize-giving, so we all trooped off to a big hall to watch the ceremony. There were lots of prizes given out, and we picked up 2nd in our class! The winner of our class turned out to be the overall winner of the cruising division. This was the yacht “Madonna”, the smallest boat in the ARC (a Beneteau 31.7) which was crewed by 3 adults & three children including an 8-month-old! Very impressive/crazy. (Norwegians – who else). After the prizegiving we saw the overall results and it turned out that we are apparently 3rd overall, out of 147 yachts in the Cruising Division! I have to say I suspect they have got their numbers wrong and my opinion is that we are in the top third, rather than third overall!
Crew of Nutmeg receiving 2nd prize
Radio Net Controllers receiving a bottle of rum each
The ARC as an event has been a great
experience. The organization has
been far more professional than I was expecting, and the camaraderie has been
great. It’s been a real contrast to
the far more personal and informal camaraderie of the small group of families
we’ve traveled down through
Well there ends another chapter in
our little odyssey. I have been
lucky enough to achieve a lifelong ambition, to sail my own boat across the
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas