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Crazy Week before the ARC

Only two days to go before the start of the ARC( Atlantic Rally for cruisers). The ARC is something I read about when I was 28 and have wanted to sail it since and now we are here making it happen. Its awesome. 189 boats and crew are in Las Palmas preparing their boats for the 3000 mile crossing to St Lucia, and we are one of them – it has been a crazy week, exceeding expectations. We have made many new friends, shared stories, knowledge and many a late night partying. The pace of life has really ramped up with lectures to go to every day as well as the endless list of boat jobs to complete.

Chris hurt his hand on the way over from Lanzarote, when a rather large wave hit the boat just at the time when Chris was maneuvering around the wheel and sent him head first towards the side of the cockpit. He was not the only one and fortunately nothing broken but it has meant that he got out of the washing up for a couple of weeks. All credit to Chris he didn't moan and took on what he could do and became i/c provisioning/shopping as myself and Patrick waded through the 48 items of boat jobs that needed doing.

The picture above is from the top of our mast- what you cannot see is the size of our boat compared to some on this pontoon. In Scotland we felt we were always one of the larger boats at the marina. Here we are one of the smallest and oldest! – I think we are on the super yacht pontoon with some very serious and awesome looking boats, with the added benefit of some very hunky fit looking crews. One guy was told by his skipper to break his toothbrush in half – weight saving measures and as we piled on our lovely fresh provisions I spotted the “eye candy”” storing away his mega looking freeze dried rations.

We are in the cruising division not the racing division and with our 10 meals all pre-cooked and frozen, nearly half a cow, 100s of cans, jars and a ton of cheese, biscuits, 40 oranges, 40 apples etc and enough pasta to last us to New Zealand. Poor Saorsa she just absorbs stuff and we will be exceeding our 29 tones and needing a fair bit of wind to inch us forward.

The ARC schedule is amazing, following a very impressive opening ceremony there has been a wealth of top class sailing folk just churning out top tips, and every day something is laid on. This was the bus getting stuck enroute to lunch at a vineyard. A few

fancy dress outfits needed to be sourced –and it was a bit embarrassing, when I went to the ladies where there is a mirror( no big mirrors on the boat) and realised my bikini clad backside, supposidly covered in feathers was more visible than I intended!.

Now two days before we start – the boat is ready, the provisions are all in order and we are ready. A great team effort. Patrick has been an absolute jem to have on board, his wealth of experience and practical mind has been a real boost to getting things done. Our final crew member – Emma arrives tonight – having spent the last 36 hours flying, recovering from three wisdom teeth been pulled out last week and looking very skinny!.

With our safety inspection passed, skippers briefing tomorrow, another party, and some very close weather watching we get to 1300 on Sunday and we are off!! A great few weeks getting to know some awesome folk – all doing something they want to do, the ARC fever is infectious.