2016-12-2 20.00 UTC
TEAM SANYA VO70
Finally tonight we will gain the finish. The routing shows less than 60 miles to the finish at the moment. Our last night at sea was quiet, light winds, the clocks actually showed some info and we had stars, as to compensate for the night before, which was the darkest we had had. Today we averaged around 12,5 knots of boat speed and are gybing our way around the rhumline towards Saint Lucia. There were some big showers this morning, of which some of us, including me, made use of as a natural shower to wash up. So relatively clean, my hair washed, some last pieces of clean clothing on, we are ready for the finish, cold beers and rum cola. People are starting gathering their stuff from all around the boat, flight information is coming in and our adventure is almost over as daily life is closing in. Everybody is starting to reflect on the trip, both the crew and the guests. From the race point of view we had some good news today, that our competition near to us has some real light weather patches and our VMG is now much better. This stems hopeful that we might still have a chance for a reasonable result as the fourth place. But it ain't over till the fat lady sings, so I guess we will know tomorrow. We were disappointed that the winds from the north, which were in the grib files, never came and has cost us quite a lot, as we had set up quite a bit to the north from the rhumline to gain those winds. This were a lot of extra miles, we will probably end around 3300 miles in total which we have sailed, against the 2700 in a straight line. It was not a standard passage with the trade winds, as many might have expected. We have seen from 0 to 35 knots windspeed, and 0 to 32 knots boat speed. We have had every sail up, which we carried, except for the real storm stuff, and have seen all wind directions. We have had a streak of bad luck with two times damage to the MO sail, the primary winch starboard broken, the generator driving belt replacement, and the instruments which fall out constantly, and especially during the night. Our motto was; 'Never a dull moment on the Sanya!'. Especially the instruments have forced us to power down during the nights, sometimes even to 60%. But all in all I think we did the best we could, we still are in a reasonable position and will pass the finish as third in line honours. From a social point of view, I think we had an amazingly nice trip. The crew and the owner on board have done a great job and worked very hard. The guests were a real nice group, which also worked hard to create a good atmosphere in which everybody added to the team in his or her way. I have seldom seen such a friendly and social interaction on board. So many have made plans to meet each other again after this trip and some are already planning to book again on the Sanya. So socially a big hands for everybody on this trip. Many have learned much more on ocean sailing and the handiness around the boat has increased. And Sanya has impressed a lot, especially during the first days, when we had wind. She showed of that if you lose attention even for a moment, she will take away the initiative with some bad results possible. She does demand quite a lot of TLC to get her running really fast, she doesn't give it away. She is a feisty and fickle lady, but if you take care of her, she will run with the winds for you and run hard!
For myself, I am real happy to have had this chance to sail the ARC with one of my best friends together on board here as a last minute addition. The crew gave me a lot of room for driving Sanya for hours on end, especially in some of our hard nights without anything but a compass. The crew gave me room to help them with more and more tasks as I felt more comfortable and secure in what has to be done on board during trimming and sail changes. I have learned respect for the small margin of error on such a boat and the energy it takes to constantly check, check and double check everything. I always love the sailing, being out on the wide ocean and away from daily life, with nothing but optimizing the boat speed as your ultimate goal. I'd like to thank team Sanya, the owners, the crew and the guests for an amazing trip, and the ARC organisation for this nice race! But most of all, thank you lady Sanya for letting me run you down the waves in the first days with more than 30 knots of boat speed, this was impressive and I love you for it.
OBR a.i. Mariette Koekoek