Update news from Las Palmas

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sun 25 Nov 2012 08:36
First of all we have to thank Lars and Kajsa for visiting us and bring things we ordered in Sweden. Lars found us on internet and has been a "fan" following us since we left Sweden. When he and Kajsa decided to go on vacation to Las Palmas they offered to bring things with them.
As an extra bonus they also brought Lingon berries!!!!! So now the kids love their poridge again.
Today we are suddenly relaxed and on the pontoon all the frentic action stopped after the skippers briefing yesterday.
It was a dramatic meeting. More than 4-500 people attending and the ARC leader Andrew Bishop declaring the rules for the start and the finishing line. Then Chris came up and started to give a weather forecast. Most of us knew it looked bad but he started to show maps and explaining the complexity of the weather system above us. And as usual the Britts can do this with some kind of wonderful understatement (rather uncomfortable=6 meter waves).
The room was silent and you could tell that all the brains where spinning about on how to do this. I had a plan on crossing the start line and then go back and anchor. No way I was going to sail with my family in 6 meters significant waveheight (wich means 8 meter is most possible ) and have 30 knots on the nose.
Then Bishop went up and declared that for the second time in the history of ARC they had taken the very hard descition to postpone the start for those that wished to do so. The applause and cheers would never end. Bishop had to tell us to be quite again so he could continue the information.
So we heard that 8 boats will leave today and they will expect a very hard start and then 2 days of no wind, have fun!
The racing division will have to start today anyway.
What happened before all this? How can things become hysterical?
Well it all starts with lectures where you learn about all the problems you can encounter sailing downwind for three weeks.
The rig and the sails will actually wear as if you had them at home and used them for three years.But all in one direction, because you are likely to sail the same way all the time.
This means that the wear and tear is so hard that even metal on metal can fatigue in three weeks time.
Why? Well we will have 2-3 meter waves 24 hours per day, the wind will push the sails at a speed of 20 knots or more AND we are heavy now. All tanks filled up food etc.
So with all this information a different set up is required, we had to tape our spreaders, arrange blocks etc and check all the shackels and tie them down one by one with stainless steel wire.
As the riggers asked in his lecture: - Do you know what shackels do?
Everybody sitting there thinking, of course I do, they hold things together.
Then he stated:- They come undone, and they do this in the dark when you have a 25 knots wind.Believe me.
So you could say, they scare you so you change things around.
To be honest, If we had not taken the ARC we would probably have made quite a few mistakes out there (wich we still will do)
The other thing with the ARC is SUPPORT, this means that Raymarine, Hallberg Rassy, Fisher panda and other big manufacurers send down technicians to support you before start.
Bertil from Hallberg Rassy for instance, an extremely nice fellow, came to us on stated time and went through the rudder system, the engine room and the rig. Only a thing like that takes half a day. At the same time he gives us the opportunity to ask questions.
Bertil not only helped us with that, he even came back to check if our generator problem was solved and as it was not, then he offered to help us fix it. But as we where in a shop to buy screws etc, Ellinor called and said that Fisher Panda was on board now. Fisher Panda is for those who do not know a brand of diesel generators. We have one on board and it is meant to give us power when we need it. As I wrote earlier it has come loose on its shock absorbers.
Another great support is Jason from Raymarine that has spent well over 16 hours to solve our pproblems. We had our new equipment installed in Falmouth and have had quite a few problems since then. Jason was not impressed and he took care of the problems, I had to do the wiring and he connected.
Then we had a rig inspection and we did one ourselves.
Ellinor has been planning the food and just to buy supplies has taken her 2-3 days of work. Then comes the delivery and you have to repack everything, Im sure that has taken 30 hours of labor.  Some boats have got cockroaches already here in Las Palmas. I don't know if I wrote it before but Ellinor found one behind a label on a detergent bottle!
What do we do with everything coming on board? Everything is soaked in salt water for about three minutes and the rinsed with fresh water, dried and stored on board.
By the way, we have learned tha onion can last forever if you keep it outdoors in a net sack. Onion destroys on the other hand other fruits and vegetables in the same room because it produces a gas that ripes them.
Tha fun part of that is that we have 10 Kg of onion hanging in the back of the boat now, looks funny. Now the other boat owners started to ask why we have so much onion and I had no answer, so I told them that in Sweden we eat them raw like apples....
Well I asked Ellinor why,  and she replied, beacuse we obviously dont know the weight of onions...'
We ordered it from a list where you put down how much and what you need without seeing it.
Well if that was not enought Ellinor found a carpenter when she was looking for wood and his price on making a bookshelf and some other details was to good to be passed. The only problem has been that he shows up two day after the appointment and the bokshelf has wrong color and size. No big deal, he comes back again and now the color is right, no big deal he comes back and so on....
Now it is there and it looks good, for the same price he said from the beginning and we wonder how he makes his money.
So how bad could it be?
Let me give you a scene.
As usual nobody shows up on time so Ellinor and I decide to take down tha mainsail to secure the shackels etc. The mainsal is BIG and we drop it on deck and of course then the whole deck is a mess with sail.
Whe  the sail is down the technician fron Fisher Panda showes up and he wants to start working. He opens up the cockpit and pulls out the interior in the storage room with all the stuff thats in there, that goes on deck as well.
At the same time Erika falls between the boat and the pontoon in the water, no big deal, but we have a child with wet salt water clothes on.
At the same time two guys show up and want to check the bimini they are making for us. But now we have a problem, because the Fisher Panda guy is using the boom to haul up the engine, so the bimini cannot be setup.
Our sail is still in a mess on deck and we cannot hoist it because the boom is busy.
The technicians boss comes by and he complains in French on how busy they are (wich I have no doubts about)
And THEN in the middle of everything the delivery of fruits and vegetables arrives!
So now we have a dirty generator hanging in the boom in the cockpit, mainsail on deck fruits and veggies on the pontoon, a kid with wet clotes and one climbing the rig and two guy that are upset because they cannot test the bimini (well they are only one day late).
And then the kids start to complain that we cannot participate in the evenings event in the ARC (always party for those who can).
Now you might think that's the scene?
No , now you take a pontoon with about 40 yachts from Germany, Holland, England, USA, New Zeeland that all have kids (yes we are on family pontoon) and take our situation times 40!
There is a Danish guy welding on one boat, one sailmaker has repaired the spinnacker in a wrong way for our neightbour so they have to undo the whole thing on their deck!
On the pontton there are deliveries, dinghys, engines, even a toilet that has been taken out.
There are kids fishing, parents yelling, a father in a mast giving orders from up above, bubbles from a diver under a boat changing anodes.
Then you take that pontoon times 7?
It is like a mid evil city.
i'It is going to be so nice to get out on the sea!
But as I wrote in the beginning,now it is all quite, for the first time I have see someone read a book someone playing ukulele and so on.
But on Monday it is probably coming all loose again.