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Timshel - St Lucia to Santa Marta Day 6 Arrival

Distance travelled: About 75 nm. We had been warned not to close the Colombian coast too soon because of high winds and squalls. It was a beautiful evening, but we decided to reef and gybe before it got dark. Luckily in that order as halfway through the process the wind suddenly increased to 25 knots plus with a big sea and we spent most of the night under reefed main only. In the early hours, persuaded Steve to let me set up the pole again with a handkerchief of Yankee set. There were a few ships about and we heard Zeeland (the next World ARC boat to us) on the VHF. At our waypoint off the headland turning more up wind, we could easily set the staysail instead of the poled out Yankee - one advantage of the cutter rig. But the wind went on increasing and increasing though the rain had stopped. We crossed the finish line at Santa Marta making 7 knots plus with tiny amount of main and half the (already small) staysail set in 40 knots of wind and bright sunshine. Steve says he saw 11 knots on the log at one point! Then we had to hurriedly get in the towed generator, stow the sails, get out fenders etc, I'd already managed to put up the Colombian flag though it nearly blew away. WARC rally control were very helpful, sending out the rib from the Marina and helpful volunteers from Laura Dawn and Lexington to help us berth. It was still wild in the Marina, but we got safely into the Marina with rib acting as bow thruster and the help of lots of people, and arrived to a fantastic welcome. The advantage of being (nearly) last, many new friends from other rally boats also Cruising Association friends Jayne and Paul from Delphinus, all on the pontoon to greet us. We were overcome, it used to the attention. And now for sleep? No off on the city tour that started in an hour!

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