As predicted we’re now in motorboat mode. We had some gentle sailing for a
few hours yesterday afternoon but the wind evaporated and we’ve been at slow
engine speed ever since. Still the sea is calm so we aren’t lurching about
uncomfortably and the stars were superbly bright last night (the moon is just a
tiny crescent, from the bottom, so looks like a Cheshire Cat grin).
Rich cooked the last of our fresh steak last night in a delicious Italian
beef stew and we sat in the pilothouse watching War Horse on the laptop whilst
Constance the electronic autopilot kept us pointing towards Saint Lucia.
Today has dawned hot and sunny so we stopped the engine and the three chaps
jumped over the side for a swim. Wow, really warm water! We were surprised to
find dozens of little rubbery Klingons adhered to the hull around the stern
where obviously the half wet, half dry environment suits them, whatever they
are. So Graham cleaned them off and also washed the grey diesel exhaust residue
from the transom then joined Fergus and Rich for swimming around the nearly
stationary boat (we did have a long floating safety line trailing behind!). It
was a great feeling, though an odd perspective on the boat that’s been our home
for the past three weeks, and we tried not to think about the 5000m of water
Since then we’ve been motoring steadily towards our goal. The good news is
that we’ve been watching our fuel consumption very carefully and are pretty sure
that we’ll be able to motor the whole way if that’s what it takes. As we write
(188.00 UTC on Saturday) we have 215 miles to run so we’ll get to Rodney bay in
the early hours of Monday morning. Fergus’ family have already arrived there so
for their sake and to avoid finding our way into the marina in the dark we’ll
probably slow up a little to try to get there round dawn (we’ll probably stop
for another swim!).
Whilst we’re getting excited at the prospect of landfall, we are feeling
really sorry for Peter, Heidi and Hendrick in Stormvogel. This unlucky boat has
been beset by another problem; Peter let us know about 3 days ago but we didn’t
broadcast it. He has now informed the ARC organisers so his misfortune is now
In the Force 9 gale that stuck us, Stormvogel also got hit with full
mainsail up and the engine running (they had no wind). Next minute they had an
out-of-control sleigh ride with accidental gybes and all sorts of difficulties.
All the halyards (to hoist and lower sails) are at the mast, unlike Maunie where
they are led back to the safety of the cockpit, and they had a nightmare getting
the main down. The mainsheet (the rope controlling the mainsail at the end of
the boom) wrapped around the steering binnacle, tearing out the compass,
plotter, engine controls and autopilot controls. Worse still they got a rope
round the propeller and their son Hendrick was injured by the flailing sheet.
The engine was still running so it appears that it has trashed the brand new
gearbox; Peter dived over the side and cleared the rope from the propellerwhen
the weather calmed but the gearbox won’t turn. Hence they are sitting in no
wind, waiting for it to fill in to sail in later next week. We'll wait for
them in Rodney Bay - I think they are going to need lots of support (and
So it’s a shame that the ARC is ending in not such a fine way but it has
nevertheless been an amazing experience. We’ll confirm our ETA in tomorrow’s and
will post lots of photos when we have shore-based wifi. Meanwhile, we have
another 8lb Mahi Mahi to cook for supper.