Saturday 31 January 2015

San Blas Islands

After 24 hours of gale force winds and heavy seas, we sail into flat water inside the barrier reef on the eastern approach to the San Blas archipelago. It is a moonless night and pitch black as we ghost through the water, relying solely on our charts to guide us through the channel towards Holandes Cays, a small atoll surrounded by a complex reef system. We have heard that 6 boats have been lost here since Christmas so we check our pilotage carefully, silent in the cockpit, straining our senses to see or hear something in the inky black night.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Santa Marta to San Blas guest written by Sarah Rose

When asked to write a guest blog I wanted to try and find a theme to hang it on – that hasn't really worked, but perhaps this hotchpotch is a fairer representation of a novice sailor thrown into a completely new experience.

Firstly an update on our progress.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Santa Marta, Colombia

‘Juno, this is the coast guard, come in please’.  We are stowing the spinnaker pole on the foredeck as I hear the VHF crackle. ‘Juno, this is the Colombian navy, come in please', the voice slightly more insistent this time, not used to being ignored. To my relief the shoot bolt on the end of the big spinnaker pole springs shut, securing it on the mast. I reach for the hand-held VHF attached to my belt. ‘Coastguard, this is Juno’, I reply, slightly out of breath. ‘Juno, this is the Colombian coast guard, welcome to Santa Marta, we will escort you to the port’.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Chafed sheets

It is our third night at sea and we have made very good progress. This part of the Caribbean is notoriously windy and we have had strong trade winds since we left St Lucia; rarely less than 20 knots, gusting up to 30 around the squalls. We spent Saturday and Sunday on starboard gybe, sailing west to keep within the band of stronger wind, then on Monday morning we gybed onto port, heading south towards the headland at Punta Gallinas on the northern Columbian coast.  As I write at 0500 local time on Tuesday morning we have covered 580 miles in 60 hours, averaging almost 10 knots through the water - and that is fast.

Monday 12 January 2015

World ARC start

Well this is it. Today is the start of the World ARC 2015: a circumnavigation of the globe, twenty yachts sailing from East to West along the trade wind route, around 26,000 miles in all. Crewed mostly by couples of our age and their friends, from every nationality, sailing in company. A life-long ambition for most. Years of planning for everyone just to get to the start line and today at midday we depart St Lucia on the first leg, heading for Santa Marta in Columbia.