For the ARC fleet heading to Saint Lucia yesterday, as the boats crossed the line off Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, there was plenty of excitement despite the calm winds. In a rare upwind (ish!) start the gentle SE winds were enough to get the fleet moving although some resorted to motoring as the first night closed in.
In their blog the crew of Jeanneau 51 Wolkenschlößchen described the start as “pleasantly slow”, a theme repeated across the fleet. “A beautiful and calm start! The energy at the start was electric and I think we are all still processing the fact that we are finally here and really doing this” wrote the crew of Seawind 1600 Pure Joy.
However, for the racers in the IRC fleet where no motoring is permitted, there was more frustration than joy at the light conditions. After struggling with light winds overnight, Chris Loynes onboard Beneteau 40.7 Hot Stuff reported better sailing conditions this morning. “We sailed through the night and wind has picked up to a nice 12-14knts from the NE so making some ground south” he commented in this morning’s blog.
Today’s ARC weather forecast suggests a day of very pleasant sailing with steady NE winds of 15-18 knots. The best routing is still to stay close to the African coast and avoid the rhumb line which is still in the calm zone.
Further south, having set out from Cabo Verde on Friday last week, the ARC+ fleet are already well into their Atlantic crossing. Gentle trades winds are the story all around, as crews enjoy the easy sailing conditions, experimenting with parasailers and other downwind sail plans. Others are landing fish and experiencing the ocean wildlife with encounters with dolphins and ‘kamikaze flying fish’ dropping in through open hatches!
On Beneteau 57 Risque Business have benefited from the calmer sailing, landing their first fish of the trip – a small wahoo, and experiencing the joy of a visit from dolphins, describing it in their blog “Yesterday we saw our first dolphins - first 3 came by and played on the bow wave for about 10 mins. Then just before dusk, a whole pod came by to take a look at us - must have been 20 or so messing around RB, but they didn’t stay long and headed off to wherever they were travelling to in this vast ocean. Lovely to have their company, as they are such wonderful and joyful creatures.”
In Las Palmas, late arrivals Audacious Duo are hoping to leave today to start their ARC adventure, as are Rhum Express, delayed waiting for engine spares. Sonsy Lass are in Mogan on the south of Gran Canaria hunting for a replacement gas solenoid.