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Day 1 - Sunday, 10th November 2019

Today is the day! After a very busy week of preparations in Las Palmas, we have now started Leg 1 of our ARC+ Rally. We had considered postponing our start due to the weather forecast, but decided to leave with the rest of the fleet. We knew we’d be in for a bumpy start, but felt that it was more important to have other boats around us on our long journey down to Cape Verde.

After lots of hustle and bustle on the family pontoon this morning, the boats wished each other well and waved each other off one by one. Our dear friend Kate (from Kathryn del Fuego) acted as our official pontoon photographer and the Oyster Support crew even came to wave us off and hand us our ropes. Quite an emotional send off.

From the exhilaration of leaving the marina, we were confronted with high winds and big swell as we approached the start line. We reefed in the sails and braced ourselves for the acceleration zone winds. Here goes! Zef was first to be sick (he blamed a reaction to the Cinazine). Jess soon followed. The rest of the day was pretty full on. We headed South East to avoid the strongest winds. Luckily, our new auto helm is working like a dream and taking everything in it’s stride. A passing turtle surfing a wave went some way to brighten up the afternoon. Jacket potatoes for dinner went down a storm!

Day 2 - Monday, 11th November 2019

The swell calmed slightly as we made our way further away from the Canaries, but it’s position on the beam made for an uncomfortable night. On top of this, the day started off emotionally as Jess refused to take her anti sea sickness medication at 2am (apparently they were making her feel sick!) and an abandoned ship was reported and we couldn’t quite make out the coordinates given.

We were relieved when daybreak came. We jibed to head South West so the swell was coming from behind. After a quick request via the SSB radio net for medical advise, we were able to switch Jess’ medication after speaking to a Doctor on board one of the other boats in the ARC+ fleet. A quiet afternoon was had on board listening to Swallow & Amazons.

Day 3 - Tuesday 12th November 2019

Finally a bit of respite. The wind dropped to a force 5 and so with it the swell. We put out extra sails and configured our genoa pole to assist with down wind sailing. We enjoyed a spectacular dolphin display on watch this morning, with a large pod swam along side for a good 15 minutes and lifted the boat’s spirits. This was soon followed by 3 separate spottings of pilot whales. Plus one of a friendly looking sperm whale - not a real one but a picture of one located on the side of our good friends on sailing yacht Walter. There is nothing more comforting than seeing a friend in these big open seas.

Pete spotted BIG fish jumping on his night watch. Time to get the fishing line out tomorrow.

Day 4 - Wednesday 13th November 2019

Today we celebrated crossing into Tropical seas. Sadly the weather was a little overcast and we were wearing foulies at the time! Another pilot whale was spotted, this time right by the boat. We managed a bit of home school after lunch and then treated the children to a film given that the sea was calm and this was our first day of being a sea sick free boat. Spirits much improved. We even managed to cook a nice dinner of sausages, mash and veg with gravy.

Day 5 - Thursday 14th November 2019

Pete adjusted the auto helm sensitivity overnight. The boat is gliding much much better through the water now and a good night’s sleep was had by all. Pete attempted to catch a fish, but no joy yet. Vicki made a chilli which went down well amongst the crew and we celebrated another milestone of having only 300 nautical miles to go.

Day 6 - Friday 15th November 2019

A wonderful night’s sail. Full moon, stars and calm seas. We were greeted with not one, but two flying fish on the deck at day break! Seeing lots more boats appear in our vicinity as we approach the finish line. Cape Verde here we come. ETA tomorrow lunchtime. Looking forward to a nice cold beer in the pontoon bar!

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