Day 20.5 The finish and arrival

Purple Mist
Skipper: Kate Cope
Sat 4 Feb 2023 22:32

12:02.726N 61:44.999W

Day 20.5: The finish and arrival

We made it, time for a little catch up on all the news. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since we arrived in Grenada and I’m sorry to all my readers that I’ve not found time for my blog.

So I left you as we were about half way to Grenada from Barbados. It was a pretty cloudy day but the wind was nice and strong so we were really flying to the finish with the S3 spinnaker. All of a sudden in the low clouds we spotted land again and this time it was Grenada.

By this time we knew we would be arriving in the dark. Darkness comes quickly here in the Caribbean one minute you have light and then boom the lights get turned out and it’s dark. As previously mentioned Purple Mist doesn’t Like finishing in the dark and she made a good effort to find wind holes and slow down.

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As we went around the South side of the island we were in a wind shadow and the wind just kept getting lighter and lighter. We needed to miss a reef and an island neither of which had any lights on to alert you to their presence. Not really a problem with the plotter but lights would have been helpful. Then we hardened up into the wind to make for the finish. The wind by this time was down at 4-6kts but Purple Mist managed to keep 2kts of boat speed so we were at least moving. This was our first upwind in 20days and we did have a little moment when we realised the jib sheets were not rigged up properly through the inhaulers but we soon fixed it.
As we closed in on the finish the radio crackled into life and a very welcome Ocean One - RORC race control started to call us. They could see our starboard light. So back and forward we slowly tacked until we finally squeezed over the 1NM finish line from the headland of quarantine point. 20days 12hrs 26mins and 10s.
Hurrah we had made it the first Doublehanded women’s team to complete the RORC transat race. We were so proud however there was no relaxing yet.
Next challenge was to get into Port Louis in the dark. Now Tom Cunliffe (Dad would call him the god of sailing advice) advises never to enter unknown harbours in the dark. It is tricky but as the party was waiting we had to proceed. In hindsight it’s quite simple but Claire was advising me to look out for the giant warship and all I could see was a large headland . It turned out the said warship was the large headland but this illustrates how easy it is for your brain to misinterpret what you are seeing when it’s dark. Anyway a large super yacht berth had been reserved probably 6 times the size of little Purple Mist so berthing turned out to be a doddle …once we had missed the super yacht bow.
On the pontoon was the arrival party consisting of the RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton, the crew of Sabre 2 who seemed mightily impressed, the photographer and other marina staff. We were immediately handed cold beers and a very welcome pizza and salad. Then the interviews started - how did we find it? What did we learn about ourselves ? It was great to chat and debrief the trip …obviously plenty of stories to be told. We chatted, drank beers and decompressed a bit before finally calling it a night and heading to get our first sleep longer than 2 hrs in 3 weeks.

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