Sorry this blog is delayed but we've had a surreal
couple of days.
We approached the north end of St lucia in 35 knots
of wind and rounded the top of the Island about 1900hrs into the relative
shelter of the west coast. We arrived at Rodney Bay at around 2000hrs on Sunday
13th Dec,with Starfire safely a few metres behind us,mother duck with her
ducklings! Actually they nearly crossed the line before ,as Ray got a bit
carried away with sailing into harbour and us being blow down the coast,anyway
with Andy on the helm we made a final sweep into the shelter of Rodney
Several boats had come out to welcome us and
Starfire with foghorns blasting and lots of cheering and flash
Then the party started, we arrived in the marine
where about 100 other ARC participants lined the pontoons and shouted
3 cheers for Silver Bear and 3 cheers for Starfire and cheered us in.It is
something I will never forget and was absolutely fantastic. We had some very strong 'young ladies' in santa outfits,who hadn't
shaved their legs to take our lines! Locals were there to greet us with cool
beers and the ARC team had rum punches standing by. After lots of hugs and kisses and slaps on the back,we finally
secured the boats and made our way to the bar.There the party continued and as
you can imagine it was not very long before we were jumping into the
pool.Having made it across the Atlantic,Tom and Alan nearly smashed their heads
on the side of the pool as the somersaulted in.Not for the first time in his life Ray had his boxer shorts returned
to him later that morning by a caring young lady from another boat.
I haven't quite got the staying power of the guys
so I returned to the boat for a really good sleep sometime on Monday
morning.The guys stayed on to party,though apparently Ray and Bob (Alan's Dad
who had flown in from Fowey to surprise the boys) fell asleep in a couple of
rocking chairs. All I know was the following day
they were nursing quite a hang over.
We were still feeling tired so it was great when 2
young lads from 'Suds' laundry came by and took all our laundry away.They were
only about 7 and 12 years old and it was a bank holiday so they had the day off
school.They spent the whole day helping their mum with collecting and delivering
washing to and from the boats. That's what we
have all been so impressed with ,the St Luciens are so happy and friendly and
welcoming. We've very easily slipped into
Caribbean mode,we've just chilled and slowly sorted out the boat.
The yachting press have been interested in our and
Starfires story,so we spent quite alot of time talking to Mark Fishwick,who
works for 'Yachting Monthly' and happens to live in Lympstone.
By 1900hrs Monday it was time to start partying
again ,a whole crowd of us went out to 'Buzz' restaurant,where ARC had organized
a cocktail party. Again the fantastic thing is
that young,old ,middle aged,couples, singles, families ,are all mixing together
and having a good time. Ray and I returned to the
Marina,leaving the others in 'Delerius' a night club, as we knew our friend Ron
from Topsham was due to arrive around midnight.His Sadler 29 is the smallest
boat in the ARC and winds had got up to 45 knots so we were keen to see him
arrive safely and with several others ensure he and Larry had a good welcome.
I left Ray and Ron in the bar at 2 in the
morning." Swedish girls on Cantare arrived at about 4 in the morning and the
boys on Starfire ensured they had a good welcome,they partied through to
sunrise and all I can say is there are some very delicate heads this
morning,sadly the young ones seem to be recovering more quickly than the
So every boat in the ARC has now arrived ,it has
been possibly the fastest ARC ever with the wind rarely dipping below 17
knots,the comradery has been amazing and all the discomfort of the previous few
weeks is very quickly forgotten. We're out for
another celebration tonight, but hoping then to get out of the marina and
explore the Island before we return on the 20th.
What a great experience.
Looking forward to seeing you all