I've seen the light

Rich Carey
Tue 12 Dec 2017 03:29
Lights actually. Martinique in actuality. Came on watch at dark a clock (02:00), with Martinique about 50 miles away. Well over the horizon, but with it's aurora shining as a beacon of hope that land does still exist. Dawn in 4 hours should just about show the hard stuff to the naked eyes.
Windy McWindlessnessface still continues, and we growl through the night under iron sail, currently the port iron. No worries on the Diesel - left Las P with 480 liters, and should arrive with about 8% left - siphoned the last 40 liters from jerry cans, into the tanks before dark yesterday. Motoring at around 5 knots, so it looks like a mid afternoon arrival is on the cards - just might get checked in and Vet aboard, during business hours - which would be most excellent. If that timeframe is correct, looks like it'll be darn near a draw with Karen flying down from Miami, where she is currently kipping after her 24 hr 'drag your ass across the world' aviation from Australia.

Bosun can't smell distant lights, so he's still in the bubble. Not sure on doggy eye range, but he'll probably become land aware late morning.
Nearly time to start scanning docs for arrival procedures, like changing our boat number from the starboard rail to the port rail, and checking if there's a specific VHF channel that we should herald arrival.

In this whole 'race' business, we only had two boats that we were seriously in contention with 'Victory Cat' and 'Lazy Way'. although the 'fates' of other were of interest. In yachting, size is everything, and your length is directly comparable with your speed - it's called 'hull speed'. Extra length also means bigger mast, more sail sq area, and larger engines.
We and Victory Cat are in the bottom 5% of the whole fleet ref handicap - which aptly notes that we were expected to be well down the fleet. For our two boats, any position across was always going to be 'respectable'. Here is how it looks, including cliff hanger:

Pelikan (50 foot Prout): Such a shame. Four guys - three experienced and one new. The new guy developed acute sea sickness, of the too acute to continue type, and they had to turn back and push the abort button on the whole rally. Devastating. One can't begin to imagine how the casualty feels about ruining the ARC for his colleagues.

Victory Cat (Seawind 1160 twin): Bust steering. Two day stop over in Cape Verde for repairs, and have remained two days (420 nauticles), behind us ever since. They should arrive late on the 14th.

Libelula (42 foot Lagoon): 'Jill' a hired Yachtmaster Ocean, has steered the owners of this new brand boat well. They were our stern neighbor in Las Palmas. The extra 4 foot (and clean bum), made the difference and they have been doggedly just ahead of us for the entire trip (including beating us over the line at the start). They are arriving in Rodney Bay just about now.

Raftkin (older 44ft Lagoon): Met the owner in Gibraltar. Their extra 6ft also saw them stay ahead of us the whole route. The owners (Aussie), had only acquired the boat a month before the ARC, so as older boats break all the time, they've done well, although we haven't yet heard the stories they might be telling.

Alamak (brand new 52ft Lagoon): far too big for us to contend with, but nice guys aboard, so we were interested in their progress (neighbors in Las Palmas). They pulled in early yesterday.

Lazy Way (brand new 40ft Fountain Pajot): Out closest neighbor in Las Palmas. This was the boat to beat (once Victory Cat was out of the picture). They fell far behind at one stage, but during the fickly prickly wind period, they and their new Parasailor spinnaker were able to pull right back up to us. While we have had completely different route strategies, we've stayed fairly line abreast for the last two weeks. Last night they were 30 miles behind, but overnight they have halved that margin and are amazingly only 17 miles off our port stern quarter. They must have more diesel than us, and are motoring as hard as they can. They will pip us to the line if they can maintain 2 knots an hour faster than we can. Bugger.

All's getting exciting, on x86 near the Caribbean, in the night time.

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