During the first week at sea for both the ARC and ARC+ fleets with Saint Lucia now set firmly in their sights, there have been some entertaining blogs and stunning pictures coming through to the World Cruising Website. Thank you to all the boats for sharing their magical experiences on the Atlantic waves.
The start of the ARC in Las Palmas was in light breezes but as the fleet travelled down along the east coast of Gran Canaria and veered west, the winds soon picked up. With 3 reefs in the main the weather has been a little feistier than expected for S/Y Rush, a Pogo 12.5. They have however since reported a “general trend down in breeze with an average 17-22kts.” As ocean sailors know, the Atlantic waves can be a little unpredictable and the Baylis family on board Rush, sailing with future Vendee Globe hopeful Alan Roberts, also state “for now we are short shifting on the hand steering as the pilot gets caught out by the odd wave (so do we from time to time). All good fun and getting well into the swing of things. It’s satisfying when you get a wave right and off she surfs, max speed so far was yesterday at 18.7kts!”
S/Y Rush are also carrying a very important crew member, ARC Mascot Sailor Ted. Despite his vast experience and full confidence in his boat selection the report back from S/Y Rush indicates he may have been hoping for slightly calmer conditions ahead “No sign of sailor Ted today, think he’s looking forward to more settled weather, he didn’t sign up to this....” They do however also mention in an earlier blog that he was making banana bread the day before so he was probably more likely just having a lazy day off.
S/Y Moonflower 3, a Salona 44, have taken a more southerly route and appear to have calmer seas “We were treated to breath taking stars last night with a fire red setting moon. There is something uniquely magical about these quiet nights alone on the ocean.” They sign off their blogs in a rather lovely fashion, “From the Moonflowers”. The crew are a mix of experienced female sailors, joined by the ‘boys’ who have never sailed a long passage before. It is great to hear how they are all settling into the experience of ocean sailing, and enjoying the very special moments, of which there will be many more to come in the days ahead.
Meanwhile the ARC+ fleet already gained some great ocean sailing on Leg 1 from Las Palmas to Mindelo and the trend has continued on Leg Two with conditions for their Cape Verde departure near perfect. Commencing their second leg from a more southerly direction provides more chance of catching the trade winds which they have been steadily enjoying for the past six days.
We learn from S/Y Ydalir II, a Marlo 45, that they are clearly experiencing a calm passage and like so many on both rallies there is an abundance of fish in the sea. “Yesterday at sunset we caught a gold mackerel cira 2 kg, which provided a tasty lunch today.” Such treats are a real highlight of the days at sea, as well as making friends with the locals; “Yesterday was truly an awesome day at sea, with Atlantic spotted dolphins playing with us for more than 30 minutes.”
While at sea the crews can communicate with each other via SSB radio, continuing the camaraderie that begun in Las Palmas. This provides an informative and sometimes vital source of communication for every boat which is nicely explained in a blog from S/Y Kaizen, an Oyster 49, who are sailing in the ARC. “We have been participating in the ARC SSB net everyday. The net is where boats fitted with SSB (long range radios), call in at set times twice a day to announce any problems and to share information such as weather.”
The advantages of this form of communication is also shared by S/Y Cloudy Bay, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440 sailing in ARC+, “It’s nice to be able to chat via the radio about how others are doing, what sails they fly, to brag about the fish you caught or to hear that they have an exhausted bird on board”
This year’s blogs are setting the scene for a truly memorable crossing. To absorb the atmosphere out on the Atlantic waves please take a moment to read all this year’s exciting blogs: Daily Logs
While the fleet are experiencing adventures of a lifetime, IGY Rodney Bay Marina are in their final preparations and look forward to receiving ARC+ and ARC 2020. This year has certainly seen added challenges and we recognize the enormous efforts and collaboration from for all involved partners and sponsors.
Most of the fleet have some way to go yet (about half way) but some of the more competitive sailors amongst the fleet are speeding ahead with the first boat due to cross the finish line as early as Tuesday 1 December.
Whatever the date, day or night, the trusty yellow shirts and all the welcoming committee at Rodney Bay are ready and eager to take their lines and welcome both incoming fleets to the beautiful Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.