After several days of tracking down and fixing a few items we are ready as we are going to get. We have added several modifications to the spinnaker attachment points to reduce chafe on the lines. Fixed the charging system on the 24V alternator. Pat spent days getting the food purchased, delivered and pre-cooked. There are now 15 dinners frozen and ready to be microwaved as needed for the crossing. Every little nook and cranny has something stored in it.
All crew are on board. Eric has been with us since Gibraltar, Captain Jeremy arrived on the 15th and Seamus from Ireland on the 17th. Several hours were spent reviewing all the boat systems, thru hull locations, safety procedures and watch system. Since everyone has good sailing experience it was a fruitful process with good discussion.
The start of the rally is Sunday mid day. First off will be the multi-hull boats, followed by the racing class and then 15 minute later the cruising division. We are in the cruising division which allows use of the engine if needed but a time penalty is added for each hour of use.
So at 13:00 on Sunday we will be off for the 2,900 mile trip to Saint Lucia. Weather is predicted to be sunny with winds around 15 knots from the NNE. We pass through the acceleration zone about one hour south where the winds increase in strength as a result of the islands funneling effect. Once past the island winds will drop in strength and should remain as reasonable trades. In the western Atlantic there is a tropical storm that will impact the winds. Right now it is 2,000 miles away and should not grow in strength. However, it may impact the winds in the later part of the trip, causing them to drop in velocity not grow.
Our current route will be to head southerly toward the west of the Cape Verdies then track due west toward St Lucia. Each day we will get weather reports and scan the web sites for more information.
Gran Canaria has been a great place with very helpful ARC staff. The marine stores have been under large demand for weeks now as all teams stock up on supplies or repairs. We did tour the island a little in a trip organized by the ARC folks. Nice old town, extinct volcanoes, vinyards, botanical gardens and of course a great lunch with traditional foods.