Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Thu 20 Dec 2012 14:42
I let you know what happened the last 24 hours before the finishing line but before that let's look at the overall picture around here.
On tracker you have been able to follow all the boats, in reality we see them now.
According to what we hear and what we see, there is a record in sailbraking and damages to poles and and other rigg equipment. But there is only one mast that fell. That was carbon fibre mast and they where towed to Cap Verde.
Apart from that, most boats have made it good to here, but most think it was far more wind than they expected. Especially the beginning was really rough and that is where most broke their stuff.
Everybody we have talked to have gone through a gale and most that have chosen the northern route had a faster passage but tougher.
All of us coming in late managed to run into a still.
Salsa was already far behind because of the first 5 days when we actually just let her sail along the African coast and we had no strength to change sail setting. (We had sand from Sahara on our wind generator!)
But we are surprised on how many boats that are still coming in.
According to a guy that have sailed several ARCs plus atlantic crossings, this was the toughest crossing he had.
The boat Stormvogel seems to be the one who suffered most problems, they runned into a gale and had probably to much sail up, so the boat was thrown down, with two crew members suffering injuries, not fatal. The compass house, the morse, their plotter everything was broken off in the cockpit. They had no rudder and have to steer with their Hydrovane. They have also a leak in the hull and no engine working.
One story from the ARC: A guy got two big fishing hooks in his forearm, all the way to the bone. They could not get it out. After a few days he was really badly swollen and they called out on the radio asking if anybody had a scalpel on board. Well one hour later a boat came by and not only a scalpel but an eye surgeon hopped on board and cut him up, got the hooks out and sewed him together. Before he left the boat (that was from London) He asked: - What do you think? You called out and three hours later you are ready with everything taken care of, in the middle of the Atlantic, would you get that service in the middle of London?
Now our last 24 hours:
The wind was around 10-12 knots so we decided to put up the genacker, that was great! We flew in 6-7 knots and the sea was really smooth.
Then when it became dark Ellinor asked if we should get the genacker down, and I responded that I can sit the last 10 hours and fly it so we get to St Lucia before long.
It got dark and the Radar was on, and soon enough a squall was showing up, so we decided to not take any risk and pulled the genacker down.
We got the genua out and started to sail slower but soon enough we where hit by the squall, we had to reef and where still doing 7-8 knots, and the rain started to shower us. The wind became stronger and stronger and soon we where approaching St Lucia in 30 knots of wind.
It was great to see land and scary. Pitch dark bad sight and as you know boats are more vulnerable to land than water.
We had to call up the finishing line 5 miles from it (according to he rules of the ARC) and their response gives me goose bumps still. It was so great to have contact with a human outside the boat!
And as we crossed the line at five in the morning we had to pull our selfs together and make no mistakes in the end. Among 20-30 boats anchored in the dark we had to find the entrance to the marina, a very small channel. And I was worried the engine would start boiling any moment. Our water pump needs to be changed (more about that later). We got in and went to the designated space and there was a welcoming committee with ice cold rum punch and fresh fruit.
We set foot on land and it was no big deal to be honest. The big deal was to be among other people, electric light, no waves and we really got an adrenalin kick.
The kids refused to sleep (they where up when we crossed the finishing line), but we slept a few hours and then we moved the boat to the "family pontoon" where all the people we know and kids gathered and welcomed us. That was fantastic! Walked around like a zombie, it was very very hot, and things have to be done immediately. Check in with immigration/customs/ harbor captain etc etc and believe me there is NO hurry. Worse is that each one of them have air condition that BLOWS on you when you are waiting. And you have a little shine on your forehead....
Next night we slept like never before, it was the first night in 21 days without interruption and watches.
Yesterday we took the dinghy out of the harbor to a beach , snorkeling and swimming, NOW we felt we where in the Caribbean!
And last night it was a party with steel-band music, fire dancers, and all the people at the ARC on a great place called Pigeon Island.
It was PARTY time!
Otherwise we are trying to sort everything out, Lisa and Gustaf are coming tuesday the 25th, (Lisa is my oldest daughter). They will sail with us for almost three weeks and we are heading for the Grenadines. We look forward to that!!!!!
Now let me tell you this:
when you read books about sailors going around the globe, they always tell you about relatives coming to you bringing BIG spare parts.
I always thought, I will not ask for that.
NOW what happened? The impeller housing and the shaft that drives it are not tight. So we have a major saltwater leak there.
DAG our DP believes that a new sealing will not last for long, and believe me he found the ONLY ONE left in Sweden (our engine is from 1989).
He managed to get it to Stockholm against a whole set of rules with Penta dealers, and now Lisa is picking it up today.
The will fly with this nice metal casting part to us. AND we have already downloaded them with a used SSB radio that we bought in UK!
So believe me we owe a lot of people our possibility to make this trip.