Twenty-eight boats are now safely docked in Grenada’s Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, as the flow of ARC+ boats continue to stream in. There’s a real festival atmosphere around the port and crews are enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of the marina and enjoying the ARC+ event village where local vendors are offering exotic tropical fruit and vegetables, local handicrafts and of course, the many wonderful spices and cacao products produced here on this verdant island.
One owner summed up how he felt about his time at sea: “It’s very good to be disconnected from the connected grid of life and to stop and appreciate the amazing sunsets; the open ocean and to have time for your own thoughts. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Peter Griffiths of Oyster 72 Latobe, shortly after arriving on the dock for the traditional ARC+ welcome of rum punch and Grenada Tourism Authority ‘goodie’ bag.
Tales of ARC+ SSB camaraderie and fabulous food
“The first week was the best for us and we really enjoyed it. It wasn’t too windy and the children loved it as they had a little paddling pool in the cockpit and were in that several times a day. The crossing was even better than I thought and the highlight was arriving here in Grenada; it’s really beautiful,” said Siri Liestøl of yacht Sala from Norway.
“It’s been great and it was really fun to know that all the other boats are doing the same thing as us. We definitely spent a lot of time on the SSB net and did a lot of trivia quizzes organised by Morgan of Sark,” said John Youngblood after arriving on the dock in his Ted Hood 52 High Cotton from Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
One of the crew on The Oyster 72 Latoba, the largest boat in the rally, also agreed: “The twice-a-day SSB net, was absolutely brilliant. We couldn’t always hear it, but just to have that camaraderie was really good. You might not be able to see anyone for hundreds of miles, but you know they are there and you know they are going through the same thing. It makes you feel you’re not alone!”
“We did some fishing and caught a very nice Mahi Mahi and Tuna, so we made sashimi, had it grilled and also made tartare with chives and scallions which was great. We lived well during the crossing!” continued John Youngblood on High Cotton. The Danish team on Torben Lundgren’s Beneteau First 456 Daisy also ate well during their 15-day crossing. “We had a really great time. Our ‘chef’ (and pharmacist by trade) prepared meal after meal and really spoilt us. We had so much food and he had planned it so well that we are almost empty!”
Michiel, Petra and Sophie Mommersteeg on the Dutch boat Pippin also enjoyed the opportunity to have time at sea together and to think about nothing else but their sailing: “We enjoyed the crossing very much. I didn’t know what to expect, but it is two weeks when you can only think about the boat, making bread, making food, sleeping and so on. It’s very zen, relaxing and an amazing experience,” said Petra who sailed across with her husband and youngest daughter.
There was much talk on arrival of how crews managed the expected transatlantic squalls during their 2,400nm sail from Mindelo, Cape Verde. Gavin Print, skipper of Latobe, Oyster 72 explained: “We had a very pleasant downwind, trade wind crossing, with pretty much the same sail plan the whole way. It was very calm and mellow apart from a couple of anticipated squally nights when we hit 15 knots at one point. Once we arrived, the guys on the dock at Port Louis Marina were very professional and we thank the ARC team for their sterling efforts. Much appreciated."
“We had two bad nights of squalls and we were pretty tired, but everything was in control and we knew to expect them, so it was all OK. I’ve been sailing my whole life but this is my first transatlantic, so in terms of bluewater it was still a little but new, but less so now!” exclaimed John Youngblood on his Ted Hood 52, High Cotton from Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
Brian O’Sullivan on the Irish Lagoon 46, Navillus III Lagoon 46, arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning, 4 December along with his friend and co-owner Frances Clifford and son. The crew of three sailing on their new boat told us about their squall experience: “We had a squall of 36.6 knots and had our Oxley-Bora spinnaker and we saw up to 16.2 knots of boat speed, so we were surfing along nicely. I’m very pleased with the new boat,” he smiled!
All thoughts of squalls had long gone by the time crews had enjoyed their first few hours on land and had time to reflect on their great ocean adventure. With time to relax and enjoy their ARC+ achievements, it was time to enjoy themselves. This afternoon the Victory Bar & restaurant in the marina was busy with celebrating crews and meanwhile, the rest of the fleet who will be arriving over the next few hours and days are dreaming of their landfall in Grenada and that essential ice-cold rum punch! We look forward to welcoming them soon!