Almost ten years to the day, since they sailed out of Rodney Bay, Eric and Tamara Barto of Sea Child have crossed their original starting line to become circumnavigators as they sailed back into Rodney Bay at around 8:15am today (Sat 8 December).
It was an emotional moment as the American couple, sailing with their son Carter and friend Michael Lawson, docked at Rodney Bay Marina. “It feels amazing to be here in Saint Lucia. The whole experience has been an adrenaline rush” said Tamara. “We have just crossed our original start longitude, and sailed mile 45,000” she continued, before commenting on the crossing. “We’ve never crossed an ocean like that, it certainly isn’t the Pacific! The waves on the north Atlantic were a lot bigger than we thought they would be. We’ve sailed big ocean swells before, like when we left New Zealand, but the cross-swell in the Atlantic was like nothing we’ve had before. The boat did great though, we hit 20 knots surfing! We also had a great watch system which allowed everyone to be well rested.”
The Eric and Tamara bought their Aikane 56 catamaran in Trinidad before setting out to explore the world ten years ago. In that time they have sailed to 49 countries, and now after a 13 day passage from Las Palmas with the ARC, have covered 45,000 nautical miles in their 20 year old catamaran.
“We only had a couple of problems on the passage” explained Tamara. “We broke one light spinnaker, then ran for 10 days on our Elvstrøm reacher. What a crossing!” Skipper Eric had to improvise a repair to the twin wheel steering system on the 56ft multihull, when a linkage failed. Some lengths of dyneema line provided a temporary, but very effecting repair, allowing them to arrive in Saint Lucia with an average speed (VMG) of over 10 knots on their 3,184nm passage.