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.