Sunday 23 November 2014


This is my third ARC and the second time that the race has been postponed on my watch.  Last night the wind howled through the marina, shrieking in our rigging.  Yachts in the bay outside the marina dragged their anchors and one boat was on the rocks by the morning. In the nearby Santa Catalina hotel a car was crushed by a falling tree. Angry black squalls charge down off the hills and as they hit, they unleash wind and rain that bounces off the sea, whipping up the surface.  Despite our initial disappointment it’s a great decision to postpone until tomorrow.

Early this morning we took our seasickness pills, had our breakfast of mandatory scrambled eggs and settled down to listen to the final ARC radio broadcast on channel 9. I had received a weather update from our router, Chris Tibbs, early this morning showing that the low pressure over us hadn’t filled as expected and instead the wind was forecasted to strengthen to 30 knots for the start with stronger gusts in the acceleration zone near the airport. Everyone in the marina was jumpy and I could sympathise with some of the smaller boats doing the ARC for the first time, listening to the gusts shrieking through the marina.

‘In the light of the weather conditions, ARC rally control has decided to postpone the start of ARC 2014’ pronounced Andrew Bishop over the VHF.  The reaction on Juno was one of initial disappointment from the boys and a degree of relief from the more sensible girls. Word quickly spread around the pontoon where nervous exchanges gave way to plans for a day off the boat. The Las Palmas brass band arrived to serenade the fleet only to find the marina deserted, abandoned yachts snatching at their lines, crews already departed for a boozy lunch to celebrate their reprieve.  Juno and El Mundo headed for the old town of Las Palmas where we celebrated our unexpected day ashore with no jobs, no cleaning; just a day to rest and have an early night before the delayed start tomorrow.

The forecast shows the low filling and moving east overnight, bringing winds of 15 knots from the North. As we sit having supper on board the wind outside has definitely eased but its still a soggy, blustery night outside.  The port of Las Palmas has agreed to close the busy commercial port from 10 am tomorrow when 200 yachts will try and leave the marina at once. This year we are on the pontoon nearest the exit so we will don our clean Juno uniforms, pose for the cameras on the wall and slip out from the dock into the deep Atlantic.

1 comment:

  1. Very good call. Passageweather doesn't look too bad but its better to err on the side of caution with 200 boats, many of which have not been through this before. The best thing is that you get one more sun-downers and all the jobs done so you can chill - exactly what we all benefitted from, given how we knackered we were come the planned day of the race. A good night's sleep and everyone will be keen as mustard tomorrow to smash it out of the park!

    Good call.

    The Fabiolas xxx