Distance Cruising

ARC Rally The Atlantic Race for Cruisers….. (from Charles Chambers)

Start
Marina entrance log jammed as 225 yachts attempted an exit. We held back to avoid conflicts, there was one bump involving “Hot Stuff” (Girls for Sail).. they were forced to return for repairs. As night fell we were making good progress through the fleet on a beam reach with yachts crisscrossing showing deck lights, anchor lights and tri-lights in all and every variety….very professional ?
After drifting at 3 ton 4knots variable, the wind filled from NNW and has quickly built from zero to a steady 12-16 knots since 04.00 this morning so we are close reaching at some 8.5 SOG. There is a large swell and the occasional breaker serves as a warm shower dressed as we are at night in T shirts and shorts !
Whilst becalmed yesterday we observed a pod of Orcas and a shoal of unidentified fish, light metallic blue with yellow fins about three feet in length, slim and of torpedo style, Can anyone please identify ?

Day 5
Heading SW at 7.8 knots on a broad reach, next waypoint “Melting Point” is only 430 miles distant, will be able to turn right when we get there.
Wind has been variable and quite light from the NNE with a lumpy sea, progress slow, sleep difficult though did manage 190 miles in twenty four hours the other day. There have been a few dramas on other yachts, a German entry called Noah sank in the night but the family was rescued, another is heading back with a failed rig.” Hot Stuff” has had to retire, that’s ten angry ladies to avoid !
The ARC Rally team took my comments seriously about improper use of navigation lights and issued a reminder to all boats ( I must admit to being a little confused when I saw an “anchor light” in the middle of the Atlantic along with their deck level navigation lights).
It is now starting to warm up with “T shirts and shorts” again in the cockpit at night, plus the mandatory Life Jackets. Sorry must dash …..time to cook lunch !!!
Problems…Pulled into Cape Verde Islands to resolve electrical problems, work done included changing all battery terminals, lots of rewiring (looks like spaghetti down below) and fitting a diode to split the charging circuits then reconnecting the five batteries in parallel – the guy in Las Palmas must have disconnected three of them somehow, thus we had been running on 2 x 100 amps with poor charging. We had also lost the crew hatch window…….

…..but fortunately it stayed on deck, so used a blanking plate to cover for the next 400 miles.
Window now refitted but cooker has stopped working ! thermo coupler problem now repaired. Another big bill at 55 Euros per hour !
We have now made new friends and buddy boats who also had problems, a Gatsby Baltic 49 sailed 400 miles back with a broken steering cable and bent pulleys using his Autohelm !
We are planning on resuming our passage later today after refuelling clearing immigration and retrieving the ships papers, probably a three hour wait in the heat outside the office. Winds are still forecast to be light for the next few days but will do our best to make progress.
Sadly Chris Barr has had to leave us as he has medical appointments booked and with the delays for repairs he would not have made his flight back. Happily Guy ( my youngest son ) has volunteered to fill his place- it took him less than five seconds to contact.
As usual the internet is flaky and mobile costs £3 a minute so rinsed £30 in no time at all.

Wednesday 30th Nov.
Slipped our mooring at 17.00 UT and refuelled before clearing the harbour at 17.30 hours. Quickly under sail as darkness fell we managed good speed until around 01.00 this morning when the faded and we were again under engine with poled out genoa with light winds persisting but forecasts indicating an increase in wind speed over the next twelve hours. We hope that this will prove to be as forecast so that we can set “Big Blue” our spinnaker,and thus gain some serious mileage as we are becoming concerned that the parties on the other side will be over before we arrive at St. Lucia.
Definitely warming up down here at 16.49 N, 28 degrees C in the saloon with “T” shirts and shorts in the cockpit through the night.

Friday 2nd Dec.
Had to motor for past 24 hours to find some wind since last night was indeed very Quiet !
Wind is now slowly increasing and speed slowly building, need it, since we still have 1882 miles to go!
Dolphins and flying fish visit throughout the night, the latter landing on deck, even flapping about in the cockpit.
Sun has just appeared and brings a very nice day, sea is calm to slight with a few white caps but nothing to see !
P.S. Crew eating well…..does anyone have the recipe for Vodka Margarine ?
Cheers for now,

Charles