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Interlude - We leave Las Palmas!

The hapless crew of the sailing yacht Interlude made their way out of the marina slip, the regulation fender tied to the bow. The Eagles song “Life in the Fast Lane” blasting from the stereo. I assume the fender was readied to be used to push through the log jam of boats all leaving at the same time for the start line just outside the harbour to be ready for the ‘OFF’. If you have ever been caught in rush hour alone 5th Avenue, New York you’ll know what I mean.

On the quayside. the crowds cheered, the bands played, people danced in the streets.
Car horns tooted and fire ships sprayed their water hoses in the air!
This was the scene as 190 sailboats left Las Palmas together for St Lucia. exciting!

Clearly, never has a city been so pleased to see the back of 1,000 sailors!


We gear up at the starting grid.. engines revving (well, sails flapping anyway)

As we left the marina most of the boats turned to the right, to the start line. We continued straight on for 2 miles before turning back to strategically place ourselves at the back of the pack thereby allowing everyone a ten minute start over ourselves. We thought that would be only fair on the other boats. (Oh! And then just in case someone we knew actually beat us to St Lucia we could always say that we gave them a head start!)

Our crew is made up of;
Dan, our trusty skipper and famous with wife Christine for terrorizing the unsuspecting marine populations of the western Mediterranean over the last few years.
Bob, famous for his engineering feats (if only the engineers at NASA has used him before sending up Hubble a few years ago).
Gary, our extraordinary provisioning fisherman and famous for the catch phrase, “..just let me know what type of fish you need for dinner tonight”.
Dennis, our chief medical and provisioning expert with special expertise in horses.  Hmm..?
and finally myself, John who thought he was catching a ride to the St Lucia Chapel on the  nearby island only to find there had been a little mistake in communications.

Finally, the ‘OFF’ for the cruising class!
All yachts headed south bobbing here, bobbing there, 150 yachts all desperate to position themselves. This is not a race.
“Yes, I know we have a number.”
“ Yes, I know we have to log the number of hours on the engine.”
“ Yes, I know there was a starting line and a starting gun. But this is just a friendly sail to the Caribbean, honest.”
Although there are 150 yachts in the sailing class there are only three Discovery 55’s. Obviously the Discovery’s will take the first 3 places, that’s a given of course, but we really would much rather not be 2nd or 3rd.  
“Oh! A moment! I’m just looking to see where ‘Knotty Girl’ and ‘Pamela” are in the pack.”

“Wooh! A yacht just completely cut us off over the bow!”

Poor Gary.

Two hours on and Gary caught his first!  Yacht?!!

It seems as with all fisherman’s tales, the yacht was too big to bring in and so he was forced to cut his line and lose his prize lure and line.  The skipper is at the stern with the distraught fisherman now consoling him in his grief. Poor Gary.


Following instructions ..the poles

Almost as soon as we settled in after the start we moved into ‘Strategy Mode’. The skipper determined to fly the spinnaker (the huge colourful sail rising from the bow of the boat for the non nautical of us). This finely tuned crew flew into action with clews here, tacks over there and a few interesting nautical instructions braking the silence of the evening sunset as we passed yet more bows of our fellow rally friends.  2700 miles ahead lies our destination … St. Lucia. 

(This particular blog put together by John and may or may not be complete imagination – You choose!)

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