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Exody - May 17th: Bound for the Chesapeake

It is midnight and the three quarter moon is filtering through the cloud cover - it's pattern just like an inverted rippled sand beach. The canopy masks the stars but an aircraft trail, straight as an arrow crosses, the sky and the moonlight reflects off the sea.

One hundred miles out from Bermuda, Exody is goosewinging downwind rarely reaching five knots in less than ten knots of wind with a half knot adverse current. It seems too good a sail to spoil with the engine but too slow to reach port before a forecast weather system lands late Saturday! I am hanging my hopes on an imminent veer and increase in wind.

Thirty six boats left St George's - thirty on ARC Europe for the Azores with a formal race start at 11.00, the other six in their own time on ARC USA. Pure Elegance and Viva left last evening, three of us World ARC boats left around 07.30 and the last at 11.30. It is a non-competitive leg and we are currently positioned last in the fleet!

After the rain on Sunday, we rented a scooter- no hire cars allowed here, Not having driven a motorised two wheeler for about 45 years, we practised in the parking lot before unsteadily joining the traffic and doing a small loop around the head of scorpion-shaped Bermuda. Everything is neat, prim and clean, houses brightly coloured, roofs all white, roads cut through the coral rock. The sea is a true azure blue with intimate fine sand beaches here and there and many places to park a boat! Historic forts abound built to protect the strategically placed island - or more correctly islands - and their perfect natural protected anchorages.

At the Sunday evening fish fry dinner and prizegiving for the 140 skippers and crew, Exody won second in Class C for the Nanny Cay to Bermuda leg, one of four received by 2015/16 World ARC veterans - a good showing. So we have another plaque to add to our collection along with some fine Bermuda rum!

Yesterday, after self-service laundry and breakfast in the dockside cafe, we took a scooter trip into capital Hamilton. Front Street was dominated by a moored Cruise Ship that looked to have a similar elevation to the island itself. We found a busy pub bistro for lunch called Devil's Isle. Enjoying our rock fish salad at the bar, we could have been in any first world city business district, but for the formal Bermuda shorts garb still worn by some, together with long socks.

At the Skippers briefing the USA bound boats were counselled to leave early so we brought forward our final preparations and provisioning that afternoon. Seventeen World ARC crews from eight boats gathered for a last meal and drinks at the White Horse Pub right next to the Town Dock. We counselled Garlix on their planned Scotland stops and bade fond farewells to all. We are sure to meet again.

Now we are four two handed boats from the World ARC headed for USA, the other four Europe and homeward bound.

Peter (Skipper)

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