Looking to warmer climes

19 November 2014

As start day approaches, all minds are set on what's in store for the crossing ahead and today's seminar programme focussed crew's minds on the 2,700nm Atlantic adventure and the future cruising plans. Under stormy skies in Las Palmas, the Hotel Santa Catalina hosted hundreds of crew members looking to warmer climes on the horizon.

Juhanni from the Finnish Swan 44, Safa is on his first ARC and he’s really looking forward to spending some time in Saint Lucia, where he will stay for two months following the crossing. He’s been dreaming of relaxing in the hot, Caribbean sunshine, especially as his native Finland is in several degrees below zero right now!

“I hope to see some of the lovely places Saint Lucia has to offer. It looks wonderful,” he said after attending the preview about Saint Lucia. “We are six sailing friends from the same town that is 200 km north of Helsinki where it is already -5 degrees C. In Lapland when we left, it was - 28 degrees so the idea of bluewater, hot weather sailing is good. We have made sure that we have some brown Finnish rye bread though for the crossing, but we are looking forward to experiencing new foods and to enjoying the warm climate.”

Bringing down the pressure in Saint Lucia
Mark Watts is the owner of the Sweden Yachts 42, Jol. “I thought it was excellent listening to Chris Tibbs’ Weather and Routing briefing today. I am certainly looking forward to the Skipper’s Briefing and the weather forecast for Sunday. I’ve never done the crossing before and it’s all a bit scary when it’s your first time and that’s the whole point of these seminars.

“Looking ahead to once we get to Saint Lucia, I think it’ll be about decompressing after all the planning and pre-start preparation and concerns. There’s the worry of are you going to get there and will you arrive?, so I think it will all be about relaxation once in the Caribbean. It’s stupid isn’t it, you put yourself under so much pressure to so something like this and I sometimes wonder why I am doing it really, but it has been a long held ambition and I just want to get there in some respects. I just have to remind myself that it’s about the journey, not just about getting there. So hopefully it’s about relaxing as you’re crabbing yourself sideways across the Pond. There are four of us on board and one of the crew, George has done it before, which is a great help. There’s that confidence that one of us has sailed across and survived the experience.”

“It’s like a good book. You want to find out what happens, but when you get to the end, it’s a great disappointment that it’s finished in a way,” continues Mark.

Family Christmas beckons
2Easy is owned by Richard Jackson on his first crossing, but it is his son-in-law Chris Brading who will skipper the Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 393 after gaining his Yachtmaster Ocean earlier this year. “I’ve had 2Easy for nearly 10 years and thought it was a good idea for Chris to put it into practice.” says Richard. “We’ve spent a fair bit of money on her, preparing for the crossing. I am looking forward to relaxing and not thinking of much. We have an apartment for two weeks at Rodney Bay Marina so we will be there with our wives and Bertie our Grandson. A real family Christmas in Saint Lucia. We’ve certainly got our sights on the rum punches though….”

First time explorers
Val and Pete are taking part as crew on the race charter boat, Southern Child, a Beneteau First 40 and praised the ‘very informative’ lectures. “I wouldn’t have missed these lectures for the world,” exclaimed Val. Crossing the Atlantic for the first time, they are looking forward to spending a couple of weeks in the Caribbean before flying home to England. “We’ve only seen Saint Lucia from Martinique, so we are really looking forward to exploring the Island.”