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Sotto Vento - Sotto Vento - 38 - Day 1-2

Day 1. Sunday 23rd November.After several days of fine tuning our skills in Las Palmas, and an intensive briefing from the Cap'n, Tiffy's happy crew were keen and eager for the off! All was calm and serene prior to our start time of 1.00p.m, and most off our fellow competitors took the oppotunity to cruise gently to and fro well away from the starting area. Friendly waves and words of encouragement were exchanged. As the witching hour came ever nearer, the tension rose, sails adjusted and nerves, it must be said, were fraying ever so slightly. Our captain, Gary,who was at the helm at this critical juncture, skillfully edged ever closer to the optimum position. So  it appeared did all the other two hundred and twenty five competitors! As the starting gun sounded, chaos broke out. It is a proven fact, dear reader, that you cannot get a quart into pint pot,and so it was at the start of ARC 2008. To say we came close to other boats would be something of an understatement. During the mayhem there were some rather jolly exchanges between competitors and opinions of each others sailing merits profered. What larks were had! One boat came so close as to invite our crew to quickly apply an apropriate and entirely apt nickname to their skipper. How they all laughed at our spontinaety!

Within minutes of clearing the harbour arm, order was restored, and the field rapidly spread out.We had barely put up all available sail, when lo and behold we found ourselves at the front of the pack! As the total novice on board I am ever indebted to the experienced crew members for there wise council concerning all things sailing. Only one day in to our voyage and Im told of survival techniques that can only be learned the hard way. I understand that one unfortunate crew,during the 2005 event, resorted to eating there own toe nail clipping the entire three weeks at sea, due to a misunderstanding with the grocery suppliers in Las Palmas. Also, how we must all save our belly button fluff in a carrier bag, so as to stuff into the life raft should it become deflated by a passing spearfish.

Only a less serious note, the remainder of day one passed without further incident other than a giant octopuss demasting us off the Azores. All too soon it was bedtime at 4.30 and so off we all trudged up the wooden hill, jim jams on,teddys under arms for our nap. Would you credit it, but some selfish so and so woke me after only eight hours, forced me and one other poor soul up on deck for something they called "watch". What utter rotters! Pip pip!

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