It started with a blast, perhaps too much for some boats as the full force of the Atlantic trade winds blew the fleet swiftly southwards from Gran Canaria. And now, by day 15 after departing Las Palmas, as the ARC arrivals gather pace, the wind has blown away leaving glassy calms behind. From rocking and rolling in Atlantic waves, the ARC boats and now resorting to the iron-spinnaker and motoring through the flat seas towards Saint Lucia.
With easier sea conditions making for good motoring speeds, the pace of arrivals into Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia is picking with three boats docking today and a line beginning to form offshore as the next wave of arrivals approach the finish. The trickle of arrivals will soon become a rush with 10+ arrivals expected tomorrow (Tuesday).
Floris Oud, bowman on Xp55 Paradox one of the today’s arrivals commented “We’ve had some great sailing but had to use our engine the last two days, and then, the coming into the Finish Line, we had our big orange code zero flying!”
Iain Kirkpatrick of Shipman 63 Fatjax had compared notes with his rivals on Paradox and Feelin’ Good. “I checked with the others and found out we were all motoring so knew we would be finishing close together”.
Weather models show the large depression centered 700NM to the northwest of the ARC fleet lingering into the weekend and continuing to disturb the wind flows along the ARC route. To find wind, boats are staying well south of the rhumb line route, which adds time and distance to their passage. For those within range, it is time to motor whilst others have to sit out the calms and whistle for the wind.