tirsdag, desember 20, 2005

The Atlantic Crossing


The ARC-regatta started from Las Palmas on 20th of November. During the time before we had been to many parties and listened to a lot of lectures about all sides of blue water cruising. A fine blend between knowledge and fun. We met a lot of very nice and interesting people from a variety of nations.
Provisioning for such a long trip was also quite a job. Remember, we had to have food and water/drink for at least 4 weeks to be on the safe side. We don’t have a freezer on board, just a fridge, so we couldn’t take much fresh meat.We bought a lot of fruit and vegetables at the local market, and these guys knew their business. Nothing got too ripe during the passage.
At the start, there were so many boats that just a miracle prevented us from colliding with each other. The first night was quite rough, it was a gale from south-west, just in the direction we wanted to sail. We were forced to change course towards Marocco, and I tell you our tomatoes didn’t like the first night in particular.
Due to low pressure developments in the Mid-Atlantic we were adviced to follow the African coast southwards and we finally ended up in the Cape Verdes before turning real westwards. One of these tropical storms hit the Canaries just a week after we left causing a lot of damage. Actually we had too little wind the first days and had to motor for a while. Since our course went straight thru the Cape Verde’s, we took a four hour pit stop to refuel. Interesting place from a sociological viewpoint.
During the rest of the trip we had plenty of wind and did on the average about 150 nautical miles a day.
Finally, we arrived in St.Lucia on dec 13 after almost 23 days. A very long time in the open sea. Both Kurt and I were quite exhausted because we had been steering the boat “manually” for almost two weeks, 24 hour a day! You see, both the autopilot and the wind-rudder broke down. I had to order a new one on the satelitephone, and it was waiting for us in the marina when we arrived Rodney Bay. A bargain at the price of almost five grand.
Our forestay broke on day 4, but somehow we managed too fix it during the day. The weather was fortunately nice and almost like a miracle we were back in business after 7 hours! One boat had a severe leak in the keel and was abandoned in the Mid- Atlantic. A few others hit whales and a couple were actually a little damaged. Everything reminded us that a voyage like this is not without risk. Here the ARC comes in, we were actually boats all over that had radio-contact every day, either by VHF or SSB-radio. We actually felt quite safe because of this.
Anyway, we arrived safe and relatively sound in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. There was a fantastic welcoming committee when we entered the harbour. Steelband, rumpunch, the works. Around palms and beaches, it felt just great.
Now we’ve been here for a week, and there has been a lot splendid arrangements.
Tomorrow we are heading for Bequi, an island in the Grenadines, just south of St. Vincent. Together with a lot of other Scandinavian boats we will celebrate Christmas down there.
We want to wish all of our friends and relatives a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Love from us in Fatuhiva.

PS. We didn’t do all that bad in the regatta either. Fatuhiva was number 79 of 160 boats in the cruising class. This was a surprise to me , because I had never felt that the boat had been slower due to all the extra weight.


At 9:16 p.m., Anonymous Anonym said...

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very special New Year from your California cousin.

Love seeing all the pictures. It is actually hard to believe all the places you have been, and not to mention the weather changes. You are doing great.


At 4:48 p.m., Anonymous Asle said...

Kjære Bjarne og Mette! Godt nytt år! Eg prøvde å ringa på nyttårsaftan men kom ikkje gjennom. Fyl med på turen Dykkar. Spanande! Ser at de skal innom Azorene på heimveg. Då må de ta turen til Furnas og bada i ungdomskjelda.God tur vidare.

Helsing Asle


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