15.34N 56.08W Monday 7th December
Mon 7 Dec 2009 12:51
Hello Blogg readers !
Here we are with less than 300 miles to go and currently travelling at 7.7 knots which will put us into port local time tomorrow in time for some Rum Punch.
It`s been an epic journey for me (Paul) that started in June with taking CaCanny from Dunstaffinage marina (Oban) round to Arbroath for some preparation for the trip.
Alan and I have sailed almost 5,000 miles since then at a pace a London Marathan runner would be proud of !
There have been many highs on the way down and a couple of Lows that you have read about in the Blogg as we have come down.
We have been to some fantastic places on the way down and met some good new friends on the way.
Our good fortunes started in Inverness where we Met John Rushworth who helped us with out sattelliute telephone and Internet connection that has enabled us to keep in touch on the trip. John has been keeping tabs on us these last weeks and has provided us with the positions of other yachts so we can keep track of our positions.
In Ireland we met Kenny at Kilmore Quay who turned out to not only be a good samaratan by taking us to the airport at 5am for us to fly home but ended up coming with us from Ireland right down to Portugal!
The two real downers on the trip are obviously the loss of our Parasailer in the middle of the Atlantic but our unfortunate contact with a company called Blue Water Algarve based at Portamaio that did numerous botched repairs to the yacht that have caused us numerous problems and we are not ruling out the failure of the Parasailor Halliard to be down to them also. The Water maker was amongst many of the things that they repaired and as you will have read on the 3rd day of our crossing, this let us down with the same fault that they should have repaired which if I had not been able to mend myself underway would have seen us with very little water to get across with.
There are three places that I have been to on the trip that I would like to return with Mandy. The first being Ireland - everywhere we stopped on the way down was a breath of fresh air and we enjoyed meeting the locals and seeing the sights.
La Corona on the northern coast of Spain was a really great place. Having crossed Biscay in 4 nights and 3 days we arrived at La Corona i n the middle of the night and stayed there for 2 days. The town was a hive of activity with street restaurants and hundreds of people dining and drinking out - the place was alive !
Another place we will return to is Puerto Calero - a beautifull harbour and holiday town near the airport at Arrecife. We met Mary Ellen there after sailing down from Portugal and then spent a week sailing from there to Las Palmas calling at Fuerteventura on the way.
Las Palmas - what a dump !!!!! we spent a week and a half there and none of us wants to go back ! The ARC organisers were great and the facilities were good but when it came to restaurants - we didn`t find 1 in all that time that we enjoyed !
At Las Palmas, we were rafted along side John and Julie with Amazing Grace. John was a great help to us with repairs that we needed to do to CaCanny and we owe him many thanks for this and also to Julie who looked after us with a splendid curry and our washing !!!!!
The trip across the Atlantic has been a challenge to say the least. Getting into a routine for the night watches was easy as Alan decided from day 1 that we would all do the same shift for the entire trip instead of different watches which proved a very good idea as we quickly got into a sleep pattern and the watches became the norm. Jamis has done the first watch from 7 till 10 each night which to be honest is not much of a shift as we spent most evenings all in the cockpit watching DVD`s ! My shift was 10 - 1, Alan 1 - 4 and Marc 4 - 7 when Jamie comes back on and does till 10am.
The days have passed in a blur of eating, playing cards and snoozing with the occasional bit of sailing in between whilst we take it in turns to watch the helm / sails and adjust things according to the wind. The Parasailor took quite a lot of looking after but since the loss the sailing has become easier and requires less of an effort.
The weather has got warmer and warmer as we travelled across the pond - today is 30 degrees which has become the norm - it is strange to talk to Mandy and Zoe to be told that it is cold and snowing at home when we are basking in sunshine untill 8pm in the evenings.
With less than 2 full days and less than 300 miles now to go we are all wanting to get there sooner rather than later. To be honest we knew the race was lost when we lost the Parasailor but we secretly hope that we will finish in a respectable position and if we could get there before Amazing Grace - Jamie would do cartwheels all the way down the dock !!!!!
We owe Alan a big Thank you for giving us this opportunity and will remember the experience for the rest of our lives.
Hope I havn`t bored you all with this Blogg - time now for a coffee.
Looking forward to seeing Mandy and Zoe in St Lucia this weekend.