ARC Preparations and Imminent Departure (hopefully) – 26th November 2012


Well it may be a surprise to a few of you that you are receiving this update but here we are still in Las Palmas.  Due to a heavy swell from the North and strong winds from the south the ARC decided to postpone the departure date till Tuesday 27th November.  A change of leaving date has only ever occurred once in the 27 years of the ARC.  50 boats did leave on the original date with 15 cruisers and the rest racers.

So what have the preparations been like? Well, expensive is always a word that springs to mind first.  We have had to spend another €1,500 on kitting Troskala with emergency antennas, flares, spares, marina fees, satellite credit, food & water.

We have stocked the boat with 400 liters of water, 140 liters of fuel, 70 tinned fruits and meats, 40 liters of milk, 72 cans of coke, a weeks worth of fresh fruit and vegetables, 30 toilet roles and the rest that I cannot remember.  We have also brought an advent calendar, a small very tacky Christmas tree and Santa hats.  To pass the time we have brought kindles, films on the lap top (3000) and travel games. Again Troskala has managed to eat within her lockers all our food and water leaving us with space to still move around the deck and below.  Her deep bilges have taken all our drinks and water and keep them reasonably cool.  We have not had to put anything on deck that may be subject to come loose or tear off in bad weather.

I have found the two weeks here quite stressful.  We did not go to the seminars in the first week, which was a mistake as the seminars are repeated the second week but in the second week you are always going to be busy dealing with boat issues and tracking down parts so some seminars were missed. The help and support from my Dad who came to Gran Canaria to help with the preparations was invaluable and words cannot describe the thanks and appreciation I have.  The crew were also a great help and stayed through the night on one occasion cleaning tins and stocking up the boat due to a late order; we have to also thanks Will’s Mum for her assistance that night.  Carlotta has been a pillar of support even though she is not doing the ARC.  She has sorted out the majority of our food supplies keeping the guys in check and putting up with my stressed mood swings.

When you mention the ARC to other sailors that basically always say you drink a lot and that is very true.  With all the free parties arranged by the ARC and then drinking on other boats and in the ‘Sailors Bar’ you soon consume your yearly alcohol in –take in two weeks; my liver needs a break for 21 days.  We still feel the ARC was a good decision and although some of the seminars are communicating horrendous incidents and what would happen if: you fell over board, struck an object, had to abandon the boat, got an infection, had a fire, died etc. they are also very informative and some of the information bestowed would not have necessarily been though about prior to attending these seminars.  I also had the chance to experience what it is like in a life raft, how to right a capsized life-raft and experience of letting of flares.

The temperature here is not 28 degrees and the weather is glorious After looking at the weather in the UK there is a vast difference so I hope all of you living in the UK get some sunshine before the year is out.

In regards to our passage we have decided to keep a northerly track across the Atlantic, as the Azores high is more north than normal.  Hopefully we will be able to head more south in the second week all being well.  I believe the trip will take us 21 days and hopefully we can make St Lucia by the 18th.

Well, that is all for now but I will communicate another blog in St Lucia.  If you would like to see where we are and what we are doing please use the ‘Fleet Tracker’ for the ARC on the World Cruising Website.

For those of you who we will not speak too before Christmas have a great Christmas and New Year and I look forward to informing you all of our progress and experience.

Best wishes,



8 thoughts on “ARC Preparations and Imminent Departure (hopefully) – 26th November 2012

  1. Good luck guys!!!

    Fair winds. Email me your satphone no. I’ll txt how awful the uk weather is when you’re offshore. Tracking mode on…

    1. Thanks so much Paddy. Is nice to know that you are following all the way from London. Is quite addictive the fleet tracker! Everything is good so far and hopefully the bad weather has passed away. Ill keep you inform and he will be updating from the other side as he does not have internet access while at sea.Best wishes. Carlotta

  2. You do indeed have THE boat for this trip. My small sail up the Solent to Osbourne Bay in a good F6 during the Summer with no reefs (don’t ask!) showed instantly that Rival’s can take it if you can! Nothing compared to your Biscay trip but heartening to find such good manners in these fabulous boats.

    Our boat is sitting in the carpark of the sailing club so I will be ‘sailing’ with you! And I found a nice weather site to track your weather at

    Heather did the Arc back in the nineties and had a fab time – we still have the boat number on the wall in the garage.

    I’m going to put a pic of Troskala in the Rival Calendar 2013 if ok with you.

    All the best and I will save my Xmas salutations until you are online again in the Caribbean!

    The very best of winds to you and the crew.

    Mark and Heather

    1. Dear Mark and Heather,

      Thank you so much for your comments and for always being there. I was looking forward to “talk” to you, as always Oliver mentions how nice and helpful you are. Specially when you sent him the Rival´s sketch plans, he loved them! I know that you have a lovely Rival too and is amazing to hear that Heather also crossed the Atlantic. Yes, many boats were mentioning that so far it was not what they “saw in the brochure” or what they signed for. Main reason why I did not want to cross is beacuse I wanted to spend this quality time with my family in the north of Spain, for the past 10 years always worked and leaved in England, so I never had time to be with them and after this, we dont know when will be back to Europe, my parents are not sailors and they are finding it hard that I am leaving and sailing away…
      and yourselves, do you have any plans of sailing away too? or do you have cariblue mainly for weekends and holidays?

      Thank you for following them in the fleet tracker, now their location, seems to be more at the end than before, but he is one of the most south situated and ahead they dont have much wind, so he may catch up if conditions change which looking in passage weather seems likely…
      Never knows, the main thing is that the boat is safe and they are too,in 2 days they will be half way! Thanks for keeping the xmas salutations untill St Lucia and I am sure he will be updating us very soon! Thanks for your birthday wishes too.
      Best Wishes to you both xx

      1. Hi Carlotta, glad the plans were helpful. The Rival is such a sound boat but brilliant to see Oliver testing that theory out for real! Our Rival is on dry land for the winter but next season we will be doing some Channel crossings and a trip to the Scilly isles and the channel islands. Nothing compared to you guys! In about 4 years we plan to sail round the UK for a year and then take ‘Cariblue’ to the Med maybe the Black Sea as well – but plans are like drawings in the sand – not that permamanent! One day we will fly out and see you guys somewhere on your travels around the globe.

        I would love to hear what watch system Oliver is using on board with the crew and also whether he considered sailing a Great Circle route (I suspect the weather was nastier using a Great Circle route though as it would have taken him further north).

        Sorry to hear about the Kindle – maybe the good old paperback has a use after all… if he would like some books I could send some to St Lucia if there is a marina address? We have a lot that Heather is threatening to take to the charity shop! All the best and of course … go go go Troskala!

        Mark and Heather x

      2. Hello Mark. Thank you for keeping in touch with Carlotta. I do have so much information to share with you but I hope that once the blog is updated it should answer a few of them.

        Thank you so much for the offewr of books. Carlotta has kindly brought a new Kindle so I have all my old books back. I think that loosing it was a blessing as all I could read was books on boat electronics and weather so I did not waste too much time.

        Our whatch system worked in the following was. The first watch started at 22:00 – 02:00 and then 02:00 to 05:00 and finally 05:00 till 09:00. In the day someone was always on deck if not all of us. The main watch system enabled us to keep the night watch strict although we never came across any traffic apart from one tanker. We would watch films in the evening after dinner and before the first watch started; it all worked rather well.

        So, I will send more information shortly.

        I hope that you all have a great Christmas and Happy New Year and I look forward to speaking soon.

        Best Wishes,

        Oliver & Carlotta

    1. Dear Both,
      is lovely to hear from you. I have seen your blog and I can see now why you did not made it Cascais. Hopefully Sues mum is well and your granddaughter has already born. I can see you went for Marroco and hopefully your recueprated from your rib accident. It will be nice to see you soon. Oliver is crossing now and I am in the n of spain with my family, I will be flying on the 18th to St Lucia to welcome him. We look forward to see you both soon and safe crossing. We will wait for you on the other side. Best wishes. Oliver and Carlotta.

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