Saturday 29 December 2012

Christmas in Grenada

‘Line!’ a loud shout from the back of the bar and a delighted figure bounds up to the stage. It is Bingo night at the Tiki Bar in Prickly Bay and about four hundred locals and a smattering of cruisers sit at trestle tables around an open air bar in a mood of noisy, happy laughter. A modern stage gleams incongruously under a chain of white Christmas lights where Coogi, a large Grenadian who happily announces that he is also the local mortician, holds court, calling out numbers in a deep lilting bass that is further amplified by the sound system.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Bequia and Tobago Cays

We leave the distinctive shape of the Pitons behind us as we head south on our way to Grenada for Christmas. It is a glorious day and the easterly wind carries us on a beam reach down the west coast of St Vincent with its coating of lush green rain forest and down to the island of Bequia where we drop anchor in Admiralty Bay, a deeply indented large natural harbour on the sheltered western coast which provides good protection from the northern swell.  

Wednesday 19 December 2012

St Lucia

The finish of the ARC in St Lucia was the most amazing experience. As we rounded Pigeon Island a small boat headed out towards us and to our delight we realised that the girls had come out to meet us in. After two weeks at sea it was a great sight to see Fatty, Consuelo, Jeanette and Saz beaming up at us, cheering and waving. We blasted across the line to the sound of a loud fog horn and the ARC photographer darting under our bows in a rib recording our arrival. The picture on everyone’s face shows the elation that we all felt.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

ARC Finish

We finished! At around 3pm local time on Tuesday we rounded Pigeon Point and crossed the finish line in Rodney Bay after a very fast crossing in 14 days. A very emotional and happy end to an unforgettable experience. Thank you to everyone for all your comments and emails which we are now catching up with. 

Tuesday 11 December 2012

ARC Day Thirteen

It is 3am and our last night at sea. We are about one hundred miles from St Lucia, having sailed two thousand seven hundred miles since we left Las Palmas almost exactly two weeks ago. If someone had said that we would cross in fourteen days I would never have believed them as that involves making 200 miles per day, averaging over eight knots every hour, every day for the whole trip. And yet that is what we have done. Even now in the pitch black under heavily reefed sails we are doing over eight knots, with more in the gusts. During the day we let out more sail and drive faster but at night, and this night in particular, we are sailing conservatively, trying to ensure that nothing breaks on the final run in to the finish.

Sunday 9 December 2012

ARC Day Eleven

Over the winter, in preparation for this trip, I had considered upgrading my fishing equipment for something more robust, but then in a moment of austerity I decided to make use of the same rod and reel that I had bought for my last ARC in 2005.

Saturday 8 December 2012

ARC Day Ten guest written by Steven Rose

Dear Avid Reader. A circa 19 day potter across the Atlantic broken by decent meals, much gin and tonic and the odd watch – as shown by these daily blogs.

Your intrepid reporter has delved, at some personal risk, to expose the ARCS’s darker side (with due reverence to Rudyard Kipling), this is no ambling cruise down the great grey green greasy Limpopo river all set about with fever trees.

Friday 7 December 2012

ARC Day Nine

The half-moon lies contentedly on its back, arms crossed, a gentle smile spread across its face. Stars gather around it in perfect formation, each one placed delicately by the illustrator’s brush. Shooting stars, hurled by a slingshot deep in space, soar briefly across the sky, then dwindle and fade as they burn up in the thick night air. White wispy clouds, illuminated by the stars, hang on the horizon in comical shapes which slowly distort and reform into mythical creatures silhouetted against the night sky. The sea is liquid glass, pulsing gently as the swell rolls quietly by. A boat glides over the sea, her sails gleaming in the moonlight, leaving a trail of glowing white phosphorescence in her wake.

Thursday 6 December 2012

ARC Day Eight

Oilskins are hanging out to dry in the cockpit and we have had the most delicious breakfast after a morning of excitement. Last night started calmly as we sailed close-hauled with jib and full mainsail, making 8 – 9 knots of boat speed despite the wind easing and veering further to the south.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

ARC Day Seven guest written by Andrew Taylor

There is suspicion that some of us are gaining weight not losing with all the food we have aboard.  Every few hours there is a snack being offered of some sort and not many refuse except of course for moi!  Our meals are compressed into the 12 hours of daylight – breakfast is 0800, lunch 1230, and dinner at 1800. This leaves a 14 hour gap between dinner and breakfast; but don’t worry dear reader I can report that sneaky snacks appear at night including bowls of cereal being scoffed – so we are happy!

ARC Day Six

After six days of fast but boisterous sailing we have covered over 1200 miles, averaging almost 200 miles per day. This evening the sea has calmed, the wind has dropped a little and we are reaching at around 8 knots through the starry night in relative comfort. Occasionally a gust hits us and we heel as we take the punch, then surge forwards before settling back into our long legged stride.

Sunday 2 December 2012

ARC Day Five guest written by Paul Windsor

Five days in and we hit the 1,000 mile mark, a minor milestone and well ahead of our best expectations. The wind has been delivering 25 knots, often more, since we left Las Palmas and we have been converting this into average speeds over 8 knots, morning, noon and night. 

ARC Day Four

It is dawn on Sunday morning and we have had a great night’s sleep. We have been on a broad reach all night, charging along at between 9 and 11 knots in 25 knots of wind, with 30 knots in the gusts and the motion of the boat has been much more comfortable.