ARC Europe - Prize Giving, Blue Mist, and Ponta Delgada

07 June 2016

The last few days in Horta were some of the best of the rally so far. We finished upout time in Faial with a skippers briefing,  prize giving for the Bermuda to Azores passage, and the long awaited arrival of a very special boat in the fleet.

During our skippers briefing, it was decided best to extend our time in Horta stay by one day, skip Terceira, and head straight for Sao Miguel instead. The were a few reasons for doing this, including 40+ knot winds blowing the day of the scheduled start and the marina in Angra had suffered some damage in one of the last lows that had passed through the result being that some boats would have to be anchored for our time there. There is also another low currently passing through the Azores, which would have interfered with our Terceira to Sao Miguel overnight sail. Well, many a sailor has said that you can't control the weather!

The prize giving in Horta was truly memorable with the fleet receiving a warm welcome from the Azores tourist board with a great traditional spread of local foods and wines. The setting for the venue was the Capelinhos on the western coast of Faial. This was the location of a volcanic eruption that lasted for about 13 months in 1957/1958.

First Place in Multihulls was taken by Mimosa, who had only 3 engine hours! First place in Class B was taken by the crew of First Light. And First Place in Class A was taken by Seaside. We also had some special prizes given out such as the Navigator’s Award (Hejira) and Best Blog (Adagio). After the prize giving was over, and since the following day was an off-day due to the delayed start, many participants went out into the town and partied well into the night.

On Sunday, or rescheduled start day,there were light winds from the west. Most people left from 7am onwards. For us yellowshirts, the best part of that morning was that Ken and David on Blue Mist arrived! Pulling in around 7am, just as the first few boats were leaving, Ken and David were greeted with a cold beer, fog horns, and cheers. Diane and Fred on Mare Canis were there bright and early with us to help with the lines and congratulate them on their intense 25 day passage. David told us that out of his 25 days at sea, there were only 7 days that he did not experience gale force winds. As a seasoned sailor, David has taken his Pearson Vanguard 32 from California to Hawaii, through the Panama Canal, and up the east coast before starting ARC Europe. Out of all of this sailing, he said he has never had such a hard passage. Ken and David now plan on doing some repairs in Horta before leaving and trying to rejoin the fleet in Lagos for the final prize giving.

After the easy 145 miles sail from Horta, the rest of the fleet is now in Ponta Delgada. Last night we experienced another low with 30-40 knot winds and rain. We are at the tail end of the low now, and can see sunshine in our future! This comes just in time for our tour of Sao Miguel tomorrow. Ponta Delgada... I hope you are ready for ARC Europe :)