Are we there yet Dad?

13:37N 57:56W

They say that, having been at sea for a while, you can smell land way before you see it. Well, we can not smell land yet, but we certainly know it is coming. Indeed, the conversation on board “Knotty Girl” has focused on little else since we passed the 1,000nm-to-go mark a few days ago. Thoughts of having a bed that doesn’t move, (or one that you don’t have to get out of at 3am in the pitch black), are prevalent. We have also started to wonder where we put all the fenders three weeks ago, and how we are going to re-inflate them in time for our arrival on Friday! Well, let’s just have another big helping of Oliviers homemade chocolate cake while we think about that...

Rum seems to the thing that most people are looking forward to. Readers who know me particularly well will realise that I am leading the charge here. Thankfully, I won’t have to wait too long, as apparently a man from the St.Lucia Tourist Board will be on the dock holding a large bucket of the stuff as we arrive. Sounds like a great way to arrive anywhere, if you ask me, but it seems particularly well deserved after what we have had to do to get here. I am also looking forward to seeing an old mate who now lives on the island, and to having a bit of time to enjoy what I can of the Caribbean before dashing to the airport. Most of all, however, I am looking forward to seeing my wonderful family on Sunday morning. Having given the matter some thought, I am going to keep the new beard until then. I know it’s a bit ginger, but it’s a great place to store stuff. Let’s hope they like it too.

As I sit here in the dim red light of the nav station, waiting for the moonrise behind us, our B&G instruments tell me that we have 255nm miles to run, and that we’ll pass within 40nm of Barbados tomorrow before reaching up to the most northerly point of St.Lucia. The wind is classic tradewind stuff, with 15 to 20 knots up the chuff. We are however, nursing a torn (and repaired) genoa, while also attempting to protect our current position of 1st in class. It’s a delicate balance. I think we will be OK, although we know that the stronger breeze coming along in a few days time will help the lighter boats behind us rather than us. Those things we can’t control, so our focus is on the last two nights at sea, and trying to find a pair of clean pants to put on before we meet the chap from the Tourist Board. Let’s hope he appreciates the gesture.

It’s easy to get emotional at times like this, and I know I shall be sad when this adventure is over. However, it is a great time to acknowledge the people who helped make it happen – Nora, Roberto, John, Ian & Dan – and to say a huge thanks to those who chipped in with helpful advice which made me chuckle all the way across – Mudlfat, Moose, Sue, Claire, Jez, Tim, David Rose, and The Unstoppable Captain Dom. You’re all legends.

I know that I am now a bit hairy and a bit smelly, and on occasion I have had to share my bed with things that have flown in through the window at night (see pic), but I stand 2 inches taller having crossed one of the worlds major oceans under sail. Not many people get to do that. Thankfully, the girl I love knew that it needed to be done, and has been a rock of support since I first vaunted the fact that I’d found a way of doing it. To you, Sarah, thank you. I know just how many times you’ve have pressed refresh on the YB tracker these past three weeks, and it’s wonderful to know you and our children have been part of the journey. It’s true - absence does make the heart grow stronger. See you Sunday.

Alastair

xx