Finish +2

Zahara: The story so far......
Ron Dunn
Thu 17 Dec 2009 19:30
Appologies for the sudden ending of blog updates.
Two reasons really.
1.... after the last one on 22nd, life got a little hectic as we approached St Lucia with the last two hours, probably having the worst conditions of the whole trip. We had broken a whisker pole in the morning then the wind died which put us behind schedule.Then just as we thought we could hear 'the fat lady' warming up and had the lights of St Lucia ahead, we had big rain showers and some serious winds with 45kts recored at one time. At the same time, seas were getting big and confused and I was getting concerned. The most surreal part was, when in the middle of all this, lots of flying fish started coming on board. The next day we had to offload around 30 from the cockpit. Larry missed all this by being below, navigating. I was in the cockpit sheltereing best I could and I kept thinking, O)K the wind we can handle, the rain we can handly, maybe even the breaking seas but PLEASE STOP THROWING FISH AT ME! Anyway we survived though , sadly, we had no choice but to use the engine for the last two hours.
2.... We arrived about midnight (local time) and couldn't believe the reception we received. So many people had stayed up or left parties to welcome us in. A local guy gave us rum punch and fruit and the drinks just stated flowing. Around 4am we realised that 'Cantare' the other small boat was coming in around 6 so we stayed up to welcome them as well, which took us to around 9 by which point I had to go to bed!
Waking up from a deep stupour about 4 hrs later, I didn't feel very well and spent all that day just trying to survive!....Larry wasn't much better.
Still after three weeaks with very little sleep and vitually no alchohol, it wasn't the most sensible way to act.It has taken us since then to get back to some kind of level where we can function. The boat is slowly being put back together and cleaned up and we are having a lot of fun at the same time. Last night we took the Ladies of 'Cantare' out to dinner. Although we won on the water, on handicap we lost. Still they were a delight to be with and I am full of admiration for what they have achieved. It was a bet I certainly didn't mind losing. It was also really nice to go and eat on a table where the food stayed on the plate. Perhaps now, dog bowls are a thing of the past!
The atmosphere here is amazing with everyone on a 'high' and so many strangers coming over to congratulate us. The final party and prizegiving is on the 19th then I suppose many people will drift away. It will be hard to see them go. We've made so many friends of so many nationalites and we've all shared something really special. We, certainly, will never forget it.
I guess that I'll then have to start thinking about what I'm going to do next. I'll certainly stay in the Caribbean for the next 5 months but then?........
I'll be keeping the blog going though reading about one Tropical island after another might prove a bit tedious after a while. I don't think visiting them will be though. Although I've not had a chance to see St Lucia yet, I love the feel of the place. Waking up to the strains of Bob Marley is pretty good and the locals are sooooo chilled It's amazing.
Thanks everyone for your support overthe last few weeks..... It was a great help to know that here were some many people out there who were som interested in our adventure.... You were great.... thanks.
Ron and Larry
----- Original Message --From: Ron Dunn
Sent: Monday, December 14, 2009 1:28 PM
Subject: Day 22...... The line awaits!

Team effort for the last day....
Well, I (Ron) don't know what to say really. At the moment we have just 59nm to St Lucia plus another 5 or so to the finish line. The weather has been difficult these last couple of days with quite strong and shifty winds and with showers and squalls coming through. This means we are always adding or removing sail. We have been reasonably cautious as having too much sail up as the squall hit could cause damage both to the boat and my bank balance. So, more sail and speed when we are able and accepting a slower spell when required. I think this approach has cost us a few miles each day but breaking things would cost a lot more. We are looking at 22 1/2 days in total which far exceeds my expectations when we started out. However, the constant strong winds has helped the bigger boats so, even afetr handicaps are applied, we won't have done too well. Do I care?....... Noooo! 
We expect to be moored up sometime this evening and the prospect is quite unreal. I'm not sure I believe this is happening at the moment as we are still doing all the practical things and we need to make sure that in all the euphoria we don't go in without fenders etc! Sometime this afetrnoon St Lucia should appear over the horizon, maybe then I'll start to believe....
Over to Larry ....
Well, caution or not, it's just hit the pocket! Whilst Ron was finishing his bit above, a big squall came through and broke one of the whisker poles (sticky out thing like a spinnaker pole). We then had fun between squalls detaching the pole (which by this stage was trying to break the hatch on the foredeck) from the mast and sail.
Still, job done and now wait for the latest Squall to clear before resetting the sails to match the new configuration. In the meantime, we're headed toward the finish line with the loss of about one knot of speed.We'll try to recoup that in about 30 mins when time it's fit to get on the foredeck
Whatever happens, the line isn't far away, and I think it is fair to say that it will be very welcome!
We'll enter the results on the blog tomorrow, when we've recovered.
Larry and Ron