“Waking up with dolphins, a coffee and fresh pancakes. What a way to start the day!” report Johan, Agnes and Lisa, heading into their second week at sea on their Lagoon 46 Maxim 46 sailing with ARC January. They earned a treat, having sailed over 900nm into the Atlantic since setting off from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria last Sunday, and getting the full ocean sailing experience so far. From loose splices on their parasailor (thankfully spotted in time) to fishing triumphs landing a big mahi mahi, it’s been a busy time on board and the family crew also joined several fellow ralliers for a quick pitstop in the Cape Verdes to refuel. “Lisa feels super comfortable on board and we picked up schoolwork again after 2.5 weeks of Christmas holidays,” wrote Agnes in their boat log, “We went through her Science classes today and she read a lot. Super proud mom!” Fair to say they have settled into life on the ocean well, with no sign of the ‘January Blues’.
Further up the field and sailing closer to the rhumbline, double-handers Sonja and Norbert celebrated crossing the 1000nm mark on board their Amel 60 Mrs G. Their ARC January passage so far has also not been without a few dramas; four days into the passage the Gennaker halyard snapped, and they lost the use of their port Genoa winch so have rigged the sheet crossing the cockpit to the starboard one. Undeterred, they are making good progress to Saint Lucia, “For the last two days we are having beautiful and fast sailing.” Reported Sonja.
As observed on the YB Fleet Viewer, the mid-Atlantic weather systems have scattered the fleet. The first week at sea can be categorized by frustratingly light winds, with many relying on the ‘iron sail’ to get south and avoid the worst of the prolonged wind hole. As a result, Mindelo Marina has seen a number of ARC January yachts call in over the weekend, with the crew remaining on board and fuel and water provided before they set off on their way again. Thankfully the forecast is now more optimistic, with favourable winds expected to fill in as the fleet continue westwards and point towards The Pitons.
The crew of Zelda, comprising of six adults, two children and a small dog, decided to take one of the most Easterly routes departing from Las Palmas, “We have been trying to get below the windless areas and avoid too much swell and upwind sailing. We also try to avoid motoring and so far have done so except for three hours the first night.” wrote Elise in their blog update. “We are soon to pass south of Cape Verde and hope for fair winds from there to St. Lucia. The sailing has been quite comfortable with light winds and moderate swell. We have encountered a wide variety of wildlife, including Orcas (the only thing to bite on our fishing hook), Sperm whales, Humpback whales, a possible blue whale, huge packs of dolphins, turtles, a shark and lots of flying fish.”
In Saint Lucia, IGY Rodney Bay Marina is gearing up to receive the fleet and provide the warmest of Caribbean welcomes that is certainly well worth crossing an ocean for. Akilaria 40 Mowgli from Croatia is currently closest to reaching the rum punch first, but they are still under half way across the Atlantic and anything can happen in the remaining miles of ocean sailing.