One week after the departure of ARC 2023 from Las Palmas and 9 days after ARC+ left Cape Verde, there are 250 yachts cross the Atlantic with ARC rallies. The first ARC+ boats are expected to make landfall in Grenada around 29 November, with the first arrivals in Saint Lucia roughly a week later.
The two fleets are converging on a similar latitude as they seek the tradewinds to the south. Usually the fleets are widely spread, the many ARC boats heading north. But with adverse winds to the north and calms on the rhumb line (direct route), the ARC yachts sailed to Cape Verde before turning west to the Caribbean.
Life at Sea
2023 isn’t going to be a record-breaking year, but most crews are enjoying a good breeze flying downwind sails as they roll along in the swell. The ARC is about the journey as much as the destination! The sailors have been enjoying the sunshine, fishing (successfully or otherwise – ‘vegetarian fishing’ seems to be catching on), cooking, dodging patches of sargassum weed, watching dolphins, and playing cards while keeping on top of the maintenance and navigation.
Birds... and a cat
Not all crew are human. Seymour the kestrel is still onboard Joule (being fed meat and water) and apparently happy to be crossing the Atlantic on a 50 foot catamaran, and Risque Business has been visited by a egret, who perches on the bimini. Another egret almost flew straight into Blue Wonder’s parasailer before recovering on deck – it is amazing how these birds navigate the oceans. Flash the cat on Vitamin Sea has ventured on deck, but luckily not encountered the tiny bird that is sheltering in the fruit netting. Several boats have discovered that flying fish are keen to explore below (beware open hatches) – not a nice surprise when its bedtime!
George & Mildred
Other non-human crew are the autopilots and windvane steering gear that make light work of keeping the yachts on course. The crew of Cassini have George and Midred – autopilot and hydrovane respectively. Mildred ‘took over’ the most recent blog entry, and its clear that she doesn’t think much of energy-hungry George.