Posted on 06/11/2017 to World Cruising
We slipped our lines and headed out of Muelle Deportivo to the delightful sounds of airhorns, cheers, and a Spanish voice over a speaker system saying goodbye to ‘Hahee’; that is to say Haji, with a Spanish accent. As the sounds of the send off faded in the background, the crew began to prep. The skipper decided to put two reefs in the mainsail in anticipation of high winds at the start, rising as we crossed into the ‘acceleration zone’. Timing it (almost) right, we made for the starting line. Over the radio Chris counted down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Five minutes later, we crossed and were off on ARC+ 2017!
After two hours the wind finally picked up as forecast and we were glad to have put in the two reefs under more comfortable seas. In the span of thirty minutes we lost two shackles, and although neither was of any consequence, I do remember the skipper mentioning earlier in the week something about checking all shackles and pins. However, he didn’t make a point of reminding me of this after we lost them, for which I’m rather grateful.
Pete from Twenty Twenty was the first to call over the radio having caught the first fish of the crossing, a tuna. I promptly went down below and grabbed my fishing gear. Having had zero luck between France and Gran Canaria in that department, my spirits were high with the news of a fish being landed as well as my new lure and line which were sure to change my fortunes. Slinging my line over the stern, it promptly tangled into an unsolvable puzzle of knots. A couple of hours labour proved only partially fruitful, and I now have two usable but shorter lines and a smaller puzzle still yet to solve.
Unable to provide a fresh fish dinner for the crew, Amy set about whipping up a chicken curry. I continued to fish anyway, hopeful, but realistic about my chances. The skipper took watch and kept the sails trimmed. The bosun slept, as he typically does at the beginning of a sail. He’s a very good sleeper and although he slept on top of our fridge for the better part of four hours, denying us access to cold beverages, it was a much better alternative than him laying a chum line (though maybe it would have attracted the fish?)
Our proudest moment of the day came around dusk when we realised Adele 1, a Lagoon 42, was just ahead of us and we were gaining ground. As of writing this post, we are still about a half mile behind her where we have been for the past three hours. I’m optimistic however that we can beat them to Mindelo!
It’s been an interesting start to the journey. The banter across the radio has been entertaining, a reminder of what a quality group we have crossing together. Haji and crew would like to say a big thank you to the ARC staff in Las Palmas for everything over the past couple of weeks. Those who will be travelling to Cape Verde, we will see you there and safe travels. To the rest of the ARC+ fleet, fair winds, flat seas, and have the rum punch waiting for us in Mindelo as we bring up the rear.