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Saltair - 1100 Miles from Anywhere

Adam here. Tonight I’m on the midnight to three watch. It is a beautifully starry night with an almost full moon punctuated by scattered trade wind clouds. The wind is a bit shifty and gusty
though, making for the occasional loud (and scary) “POP” from our huge, double-sided downwind sail. We are sailing at 7.5 - 8 knots in 15 -18 knots of wind 150 - 160 degrees off our starboard bow.

It has been a difficult past few months for us. Our time in Las Palmas was largely spent waiting for various vendors to complete repair work and systems installations. The repair list included our starboard rudder bearing, two sails and the genoa halyard swivel. We also took the opportunity to add 810 watts of solar panels to Saltair, which required stainless and electrical work as well as some thoughtful redesign of our passaralle (the boarding plank that we use to get on and off the boat when tied stern-to a dock). We had originally planned to add solar to our bimini as well but the canvas contractor didn’t have the time to do the work so we gave up on that project.

We’ve been underway now for the past ten days, having left Las Palmas on the 19th. The weather for the first week was suboptimal, with various weather systems in the North Atlantic limiting the formation of the typical trade winds and driving us further south to find them. We spent most of the first week heading south and west, adding extra distance on the typically 2700 mile route.

Our voyage has been complicated by what seem to be never-ending new boat issues with our rudder bearing seals and our large, downwind sail, those issues forcing us to take time off sailing to make repairs and adding stress, emotional anguish and uncertainty to our days. But we have been making the best of it and still consider ourselves lucky to be doing this.

For the moment, all is well and we are enjoying our beautiful evening sail. Looking at the chart, we are almost smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The closest points of land are Senegal, 1100 miles to the east, French Guiana, 1100 miles to the west-Southwest, and Brazil, 1100 miles to the south-southwest. Our destination, St. Lucia, is 1450 miles to the west. Our origin, Gran Canaria, is 1400 miles to the northeast. Interestingly, we are surrounded by other boats making the crossing. After not seeing another boat on radar or AIS for most of the past two days, earlier this evening we passed two boats within a mile of us, and a third boat just popped up on AIS thirteen miles ahead of us. There are 160 boats in the organized ARC rally but likely hundreds more making the crossing on their own. We are looking forward to tomorrow's "halfway celebration".

More photos at

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