With less than two days to go until start day, the clock is ticking and there’s a hive of activity around the docks and marina. Most crew members have arrived now and are familiarising themselves with the boat and helping with final preparations. Local services and suppliers are busy dropping off van loads of provisions to boats on the docks, including large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables from the local market, litres of water and supermarket deliveries. Food and cooking during the Atlantic crossing are an important part of the daily routine and something that everyone looks forward to as they get into the rhythm of their transatlantic adventure.
It’s been busy in the ARC office with last minute questions and crews have been buying up souvenir ARC T-shirts as mementos and gifts for friends and family back home. The ‘Not to be used for navigation’ slogan on the back is as popular as ever, as is those with the names of all the boats. The ARC safety team have been ticking off the final items on their check lists and the official ARC photographer has been around the docks taking shots of teams in their best crew clothing.
As another busy day draws to a close, all 800+ crews, visiting press, sponsors and supporters are invited to farewell drinks at the prestigious Real Club Náutico de Gran Canaria. Here they will have a chance to enjoy drinks and local tapas on the terrace behind the pool in the impressive club which has supported the ARC since its inception. Many friendships have been forged during their time here in Las Palmas, both with those who have come to know each other as they are on the same dock, and others they have met at one of the many ARC social functions held over the last two weeks. Tomorrow it is the last of the formalities to complete, with the Rally Check Out at the ARC Platform from 0900, with skippers bringing along all the passports of their crew, followed by the Skippers Briefing at Club Metropole.
It’s then the last of the ARC Sundowners, sponsored on the final evening by Spinnakers Bar at Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia, which are longtime supporters of the ARC. This year, the owner, Michael Richings is sailing on Dan Bower’s Oyster 62 Skyelark 2, which will be skippered by his son Christian, who for 20 years was a professional skipper:
“This is my third ARC,” said Michael who has lived in Saint Lucia for 38 years. “We’ve had Spinnakers Restaurant in Rodney Bay, right on the beach, for nearly 30 years and we’ve been very proud to welcome all the ARC participants every year. We sponsor the last night’s cocktail party and have arranged two parties for crews to look forward to when they get to the finish on the 8th and the 14th of December, with a steel band one night and a DJ the next. It’s always been my ambition to do the ARC with my son as a skipper, and the nice thing about our crew of 8 is that everyone else has, or has had a house in Saint Lucia. We are all friends and during lockdown in Saint Lucia we were bored and said what are we going to do when all this is over? I suggested that we sail together in the ARC, and so here we are! As boats cross the ARC finish line, the first thing crews see is Spinnakers (he laughs), and the first time I did the ARC we came in about 6.30 in the morning and at that time of morning it’s the most glorious and peaceful place to be after spending all those days at sea. It’s great to see it in daylight if it is your first time."
Also busy on their boat this afternoon was the crew on Maurice Mason’s Nautitech 46 Open Jadamama, from Co KIildare, Ireland: “Today was really about getting the satcom stuff up and running. I had an Iridium Go system, but it doesn’t allow us to work from the boat and we do need to have that capability, so I upgraded that. MailASail’s Ed Wildgoose came on board to sort out all the problems, which was great. We’ve also been doing small things like taking the anchor off the bow and that kind of stuff. We took fuel onboard yesterday and some water; most of the fresh foods is on and it’s just one small shop and we are raring to go….”
Other skippers and crews have been equally busy: Andy Bates on the British Sigma 400 Prime Evil said: “I have been getting covered in diesel, putting in a new diesel filter, getting the satphone working, doing a bit of cleaning up, putting on the solar panels and working out what we have and haven’t got. Oh, and recovering from a hangover,” he laughed. Russ Durham on the Australian Dufour 56 Smooth Operator said he had done some equally glamorous jobs today: “We’ve been re-plumbing toilets, buying provisions and now waiting for deliveries,” he smiled.
Tomorrow is another day and the last before the big day! Have fun tonight everyone.