Atlantic crossing 1

Wed 15 Nov 2006 20:19
Returned to the ship after an uneventful flight on the 13th November, to
find that Thisbe had been moved to another berth a few days before, bit of
an inconvenience as I had to lug heavy luggage about half a mile down to
pontoon 14. The difference in the atmosphere of the place is striking. The
marina seems to be full up, with many of the boats already dressed overall,
its quite a sight to see all the little signal flags fluttering in the
The ARC (Atlantic rally for cruisers) office is now open, and all skippers
have to check in and to collect their welcome packs and make arrangements to
have their boats checked over by the safety people. Boats are arriving by
the dozen so the organisers have their work cut out answering an almost
continuous babble coming over the radio from yachts appearing outside the
marina, all looking for fuel and a berth. Standing around outside the office
was interesting, listening to new arrivals. All very matter of fact that
they had just done 600+ miles at sea from Spain,
Gibralter, North Africa, Mediterranean. One guy off a very big boat was
casually talking about after the Atlantic crossing, on to Brazil, down the
of South America, Straits of Magellan, Cape Horn, circumnavigation, treating
the world as a big boating lake !! Made me feel very small potatoes.Went to
the office the morning of day 2 and collected our welcome pack, lots
of paperwork to complete, another flag, a big ID number to display port side
rear (no. 250) cards giving discount in the local shops, all presented in a
very smart blue canvas bag with ARC on it. Oh, and an ARC baseball cap, and
a small bottle of whiskey. Its big business for the island. All the
hypermarkets are leaving advertising blurb on all the boats flying the ARC
flag offering discounts and free deliveries if you shop with them.
Poor old Thisbe was in a sorry state, covered in brown dust blown over from
the Sahara, which was also full of footprints where she had been walked over
in wet boots. The rigging, spray hood, seats etc. were thick with it. Took
me over an hour to hose and scrub it all off. Inside was not too bad, just
clutter from my hasty departure, bike, dinghy, liferaft, a ton of stuff
stowed below for safekeeping. Some electrics not working again, mostly due
to degradation of the negative connection, mabe I should have disconnected
the batteries completely ? all fixed by the evening of day two, so its been
quite a busy day. Just about to get me frock on for the first do. A
cocktail party.... Been there and met some very interesting people, lots
have done it before, but also plenty of first timers like us. Learned a lot
about how to rig the twistle so all in all worth going to. Did a cycle round
the harbour and am stunned by some of the boats also on the ARC. They have
big crews all decked out in the same colour tea shirts, how posh is that?
The scrutineers are coming on Thursday so will have to crack on tomorrow.
Gloomy Wednesday. A man sent around by the Admiralty Insurance company,
(who have my thousand quid) came to climb the mast and generall check over
the rig. I was very confident that he wouldnt find anything but he wiped my
smile. Seems that the part of the plate across the top of the mast, the bit
that holds the top end of the forestay, is cracking at the ends. A mast out
job to fix it. I told him I woud rather have had a poke in the eye with a
sharp stick than that news, but that didnt change a thing. I had a little
tamtrum after he had gone and then got on with doing something about it. The
thought of the Spanish manyana attitude that I had already experienced
dropped my heart through my boots. Anyway, I went to see my old neighbour on
Pontoon 10 who does stainless welding and he was very positive. I then
cycled to see the man in charge of the boat yard who said that a crane was
coming at 5 oclock to do some work on another boat, and if I could dismantle
the rig and all the electrics myself he would pull the mast out today. No
sooner said, mast is now out and work arranged to be done tomorrow (Thursday
16th) Thisbe now looks like an elephant without any tusks but ' hey '. The
mystery of my flashing tricolour light on the masthead also revealed, crummy
work by the last rigger up the mast who couldnt be bothered to do it up as
it was a bit awkward (no names) I was lucky not to lose it altogether. No
wonder I dont trust anyone to do anything, paranoid ? I reckon the weld can
be done in situ but will know tomorrow, its about five mill one side and
three the other, I will send a pic to other Nic owners for the record. A lot
of bother and expense but the peace of mind in mid Atlantic will be worth
it. (180 euros total mast out and back in, 80 euros for boatyard
facilities, ? for the welding) I'm going on a bit so will stop here. All
is well in sunny Las Palmas. Manny