“We’re ready to go now - it’s been a while in the making!” said British Skipper Simon Warwick, who together with his wife Amy and children Rosie, Harry and Evelyn are embarking on a family sailing adventure around the world on their Oyster Lightwave 48 Pacific Pearl. “We’re excited and daunted in equal measure at the prospect of setting sail.”
For Amy it has been the support of friends at home and the other ARC family boats that has made it easier for them. “What makes it better is having everyone around us and leaving together,” explained Amy. “The kids are really excited because it is a great atmosphere on the pontoons, a real buzz and we can really feel it now, plus they are so looking forward to seeing their friends again when we reach Mindelo”.
For most crews the proximity of the start day now means a welcome end to preparations and time to enjoy the sailing.
Chris and Karen Parker of Oyster 56 Mistral of Portsmouth, (GBR) moved aboard their boat in France in August and have been battling a persistent engine problem all summer. With the engine issue solved, they are ready to depart. As Karen commented, “I just want to go now, I don’t want to prepare any more, even though I am a bit anxious about the trip, especially the amount of rolling, as I’m not as experienced as Chris. However, we’ve had so much support from home with people texting us every day to say good luck, which helps calm my ‘butterflies’!”
Canadian sailor Francois Caza, collected his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349, Venturi l, direct from the factory last year and has spent the last 12 months preparing for his transat with ARC+. Other than a last minute ‘panic’ with an autopilot problem yesterday, now fixed, the Venturi I crew are all set to go. As Francois explained, “We are from Montreal in Canada, where it is getting cold now, so the prospect of warm days sailing south is very appealing to us Canadians!”
Mixed emotions about the departure are a common feeling as crews temper their excitement with a fair amount of nervousness. “I feel very excited and actually quite emotional about leaving. It is my first long ocean passage” said Danish sailor Freddy Klausen, skipper of Epsilon a Bavaria Vision 42. “My crew are all ready to go, I am lucky as I have a very good crew of friends to sail with.” he continued.
The pontoons this afternoon were busy with last-minute stores being loaded, fresh provisions being stowed and nets of fruits hung safely over cockpits and saloons. No one goes hungry on the ARC!
Sadly, for the crews of the US boat Amajen, and the British boat Caledonia, they won’t make the start line tomorrow. Serious technical problems have forced Amajen to delay until January, whilst a saildrive failure has delayed Caladonia until at least Tuesday.
For the 91 boats expected to depart tomorrow (Sunday 06 November) the weather forecast delivered by ARC met-man Chris Tibbs’ at today’s skippers briefing was warmly welcomed. Moderate NE 8-13 knot winds are expected for midday Sunday, with enjoyable trade winds continuing at 18-20 knots ENE along the rhumb line route to Mindelo for the whole passage. In short, a perfect forecast!