ARC 2009-day 1

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 22 Nov 2009 16:04

We were all getting very stressed by 10.30 and two of us were busy cleaning the boat when suddenly a band started up. It was just what we needed to help us all relax a bit. The band marched along our pontoon, then along the other, in Vela Latina. Later, it came back again making us all smile and break into song.

From about 11am, a maroon sounded a couple of times, then after about five minutes, it sounded again. This continued until almost the time that we left the Vela Latina.

We left our mooring, with help from one of the marinaros ashore and as we approached the exit from the marina, one of the guys working with the ARC, took a photo of us as we motored past.

There were so many people standing on the breakwater so see us off and so many boats in the sea ahead.

We moved all the cushions back to the seats in the aft cockpit, the fly-bridge and the forward cockpit. The problem with cushions is that they all need to be moved before the boat is washed and because they are of various shapes and sizes, it is a bit like doing a jigsaw when we put them back.

As we approached the starting line, there were two water canons working full pelt and lots of boats that had come to see us off, even a tourist boat full of people.

We crossed the line flying the main sail and the new, bigger genoa. 

We had hardly started when one of the boats called in to say that they had a twisted halyard and were turning back to the marina. Soon after that, two boats collided and one of them returned to the marina for repairs..

We actually saw the spinnaker rip, on boat no.127 but they managed to snuff it and bring it down quite competently.

I have to say that our crew has been brilliant.Not only as far as helping us prepare our boat but in helping other people.

Austin swam out to move lines attached to the mooring buoys several times, despite the filthy water. He went up the mast on two separate occasions for “Silly seagull” and made himself available to any of the participants who needed an interpreter. Having lived in Tenerife since he was a tot, his Spanish is fluent.

Chris was unable to sort out the Vodafone dongle we had purchased to enable us to access the internet. He did get a new SIM card for it but that was also not working. The equipment was faulty. What he did do, was sort out problems for a huge number of people who had problems with their computers and SSB.

Because we were starting the crossing at 1pm, we ate chicken mayonnaise sandwiches as we made our way through the conglomeration of other yachts. The chicken was what had been left over from our supper the previous evening and the bread was one that I had made earlier.

By 15.00 we were sailing at 7.3 knots on a beam reach with the wind blowing at force 4.

We started to deflate the fenders ready for storing while we cross the atlantic.