ARC 2015
lördag 19 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 61-68
There were 20 kids in the ARC this year. They were full of enthusiasm during the prize ceremony

Rodney Bay Marina is quite an outfit.  A rather gigantic stretch of water having been drained and excavated out of a swamp with a narrow channel leading in from the bay.  Here we are moored for a week in berth D21.  Ashore are facilities of all kinds: washing and shower facilities of course, but also shops, a bank, a ship’s chandelier, a sail maker and a number of restaurants. We can have “full English breakfasts” and dinners from different cuisines.  Along the pontoons are moored all the ARC-bots and at irregular intervals new arrivals appear.  There a great hoorays, honking of horns and applauds.

Magnus leaves the day after arrival.  He has court hearing scheduled and is firing up already.  Stefan decides to leave after yet another day and Simon has a ticket on the forth day.  During these days we tend to the boat.  Ruptured sails are brought to the sail maker and he accepts to fix the new gennaker.  Stefan’s old spinnaker is ruptured all the way across.  The cloth is old and mouldy and in the end we decide to dump it despite Stefan’s generous offer: Fix it and keep it.

Sanna, Hans and Leif rent a car and drives around the island.  Castries, the capital is not all that appealing. We take the main road south along the eastern coast.  Quite deserted, really.  Way down south lies the international airport, Huewanorra close to Vieux Fort, which is a pioneer town, poor and dirty.  We did find a nice beach and ditto restaurant and enjoy both.  The restaurants served an excellent tuna fish.  The return road along the west coast is dramatic, beautiful, up and down to small villages along the shore line.  We pass close to the Pitons, the symbols of St.Lucia.  We make a detour down to Marigot Bay, famed hurricane hole/deep inlet into the shore forest.  The place is spectacular but in the deep of the extreme interior  lies a “oligark type” gigantic ship…and along the board walk they sell diamonds.  Skipper is not that attracted.

Sanna leaves the day after according to schedule.  Hans and skipper have two more days and then Hans leaves too.  On the Saturday, there is a prize ceremony.  There were 5 cruising classes in the ARC, and two competition classes.  First, second and third prize in each and a lot of special prizes: Best ARC spirit, most beautiful boat, etc.  There were 20 children in the ARC and they sure were full of pep this evening.

The day after skipper leaves for Martinique.

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ARC 2015
fredag 11 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 60
At last, moored in the fancy Rodney Bay Marina where the boat stayed for one week of celebration and recuperation

Everybody is up with the sun,, which, in our peculiar situation, corresponds to about 11 o’clock “boat time” (=GMT).  A couple of hours later we tally 150 miles for the day and we are satisfied with that considering a rather calm night.

We now adjust time and go the St.Lucia time  (=GMT - hours).  At about 1030 we have 80 miles left, we have Barbados due south.

At 10 o’clock we hoist the gennaker.  We realize that we have to jibe but in order to get  good wind on the other tack we wait until the last moment (people at home who follow us on the YBS were afraid that we would collide with St.Lucia).  So we jibe and find that the genua furling has locked.   Needs about one hour of “massage” to get “unlocked” ……the tricks played by boat and waves and wind never let up….!!  At 2300 hours we have VHF-contact, just before, easing off north of St.Lucia.  At 2330 we pass Pigeon Island and at 2345 we pass the finishing line…..!!  19 days and almost 11 hours, a couple of days longer than skipper anticipated. 

We furl the sail and motor into the narrow canal that leads into Rodney Bay.  On channel 77 we talk to "ARC Berth" and they guide us into berth D21 where rhum punch and horray awaits us on the pontoon.  We duly celebrate on the boat and we also stumble into the marina for a beer in the bar…..We made it !!


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ARC 2015
torsdag 10 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 59
Occasionally, hygiene needs to be tended to. So you "dive into the bucket".....

Days don’t differ much here at the lower latitudes.  Same procedure.  Breakfast.  The wind is quite strong today, about 20 knots and we make do with the genua for starters.  At 1300 (GMT), which is about 0900 local time we tally al of 171 miles for the day.  Very good indeed and we figure that this will be our distance left at approximately 2100 local time.

Leif makes tuna fish salad+pasta and the crew seems pleased.  Magnus tops this with pasta carbonara in the evening.  Tagliatteli +two egg yolks (per person) +bacon + parmesan cheese on top.  Delicious.

Meanwhile, in the afternoon, we tried to hoist our remaining gennaker.  We find, however, 3 tiny, tiny rifts close to the  clew horn: Down for repair with sail tape.  We let the sail be for the day in the hope that we can make good use of it tomorrow which we figure will our last day out (!)

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ARC 2015
onsdag 9 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 58
Each day we empty at least one of these bottles and we have a "water guard" to check on everyone

The night has been the same – bumpy.  The trade winds are really “established” down here at 14° north and the swells come with the territory.  We are getting used, however, and sleep reasonable well.  Skipper had the dog’s watch in the morning, between 0200 and 0600.  It is comforting to wake up and bring a cup of coffee into the cool (!) cockpit to awaken and have a good look at the stars.  During the last week there has been no moon so even the faintest star is conspicuous,

Breakfast ritual is individual.  We come up as we awaken after the night’s watches.  Skipper has a bit of yoghurt + müsli followed by coffee and some sandwiches.  We are out of flower so there is no more of Magnus’ baking.  We do have some packs of bread from Las Palmas.  ...and we drink "carefully".  The heat and the winds sucks water out of our bodies.

Today’s distance is 154 miles and having acknowledged this fact we hoist the gennaker,  The going is great but there is a fine line between progress and broach.  We split the steering between the three most experienced helmsmen during the afternoon and at sundown we take gennaker down too; this is our last downwind sail….

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ARC 2015
tisdag 8 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 57
This late in the rally. the days become a bit of a (nice) routine

We find wind a bit too strong (?) at 8 o’clock (GMT) so we wait another two hours to hoist the gennaker.  Immediately we tear along at 7 knots.  We have calculated that we need to make a mean 6.8 knots if we are to be able to have a beer in the bar on Friday night !!  This takes some doing, perhaps leave the gennaker up for another 3-4 hours in the evening.  It all depends on how the squall situation looks.

Stefan makes French Onion soup for lunch, oh my, very tasty indeed.  At 1300 (GMT) we determine the day’s distance to be 151 miles. 

In the afternoon clouds and squalls appear in the rear.  We keep track of them, steer away and dodge.  Just as we feel safe the final gust from one of the hits us. 25 knots, we almosr braoch…and the gennaker is torn, the new, fancy, full size gennaker is rather badly damaged in the clew horn(!)  Jeessus, we have now ruined two sails in 2 consecutive days !  We snuff it and stuff it down the hatch and have a “happy” hour in the cockpit, contemplating this bad fortune.

A meat casserole in the pressure cooker lightens our hearts.  We let the genua stay up for the night.  There is commotion in  the air, gusts of wind and swells.  Oh those swells, they really rock us.

For dinner we have corned beef (?!).  One’s imagination can easily get the better of oneself over contemplations what is actually stuffed into ”corned beef” (?)  We have a recepie, though, from “Always a distant anchorage" by Al Roth.  You fry them in flower and egg yolk and then make a sweet and sour sauce and add pineapple chunks.  Serve with rice.  Delicious.  Hans has once more surpassed himself.

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ARC 2015
måndag 7 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 56
After many days some special care had to be taken....

The short of it is that the night becomes the worst yet.  The boat moves all over the place.  The sailing is exhilarating but sleeping is certainly not.  At 0800 (GMT) we hear “all hands on deck”  The spinnaker is torn and out of bed we stumble in our pyjamas, life vest on, and out on foredeck to pull down completely shredded and wet 140 square meters of  sail cloth.  There is no alarm, really, no danger but the contrast to the bunk was substantial.

Well…we hobble on with the genua set.  It takes some hours for us to regain our compositions.  Breakfast, a cup of coffee in the cockpit and then….we hoist the big gennaker, 210 m2 in nice orange, blue and white and we make good speed again.  At 1300 we tally the day’s distance; 168 miles and a mean velocity of 7 knots.  Pretty good.

The day is otherwise uneventful.  Hot.  We have run out of fresh water in the tanks but have plenty of it in bottles.  All together about 30 litres and this will last us a good week or so, and we count on being in St. Lucia in 3 days….(?)

5 o’clock beer in the cockpit and dinner on spaghetti bolognese.  We stay sage this night and take the gennaker down.  The going is not excellent but sleep is better…..!

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ARC 2015
söndag 6 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 55
Crew Hans at his best....

The night has been pretty bad.  Enormous rolling and one is thrown back and forth.  Skipper tried amateur psychology: If you determine that something is nice it becomes nice (?) So I decide that I am being rocked in a cradle to be put to sleep…..well, worked sort of (?).  We have been measured against another Swedish boat, Cavatina, this night.  They are moving straight for St. Lucia, not so fast but terribly straight.

In the morning after breakfast, we sort the spinnaker out.  Set the pole out on starboard and hoist the sail.  Works wonders !! We are now on a straight course for our goal and at a good speed too

The day turns out to be uneventful.  The heat is on and we struggle for shade.  However,  inside the boat there is less wind so we end up commuting back and forth on a constant basis.  Dinner on tuna fish steaks (!).  These are not often found in Sweden but resemble ordinary filet mignon.  Gorgeous together with a quinoa salad.  We have made it into a habit to have the dinner beer in the cockpit before dinner.  This is because in the rolling conditions that prevail, one cannot handle both beer and food.  The beer cans are constantly lost down on the floor.  So this is a better solution also this evening.

We decide to keep the spinnaker up over night considering the calm day. Well, soon after  sundown the swells set in and dark clouds obscure the stars.  A bit threatening although he wind is OK. 

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ARC 2015
lördag 5 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 54
Every morning Magnus made fresh bread. Ever so much appreciated

With skipper at the helm, just after dawn, the wire (!) holding the tack to the gennaker snaps.  All hands on deck!  The snuffer doesn’t work but we are now used to take the sail down underneath, and in the lee of the genua,  We find that the eye permanently attached to the sail is worn through.  Had we checked this last night we would have seen it !!  We quickly arrange another attachment for the tack and hoist again.  The going is really good. We have made in excess of 170 miles for 2 consecutive days now. That is a mean velocity of > 7 knots.

 We decide to jibe the gennaker.  This means snuffing the sail and lowering it under the genua, jibe and then hoist on the other side, a cautious way of doing it.  For once the snuffer works (!) but we cannot get the sail down.  The halyard is stuck and with binoculars we see that the rope has escaped outside the roller at the top of the mast.  Skipper needs to go high and manages to cut the halyard so that the sail goes in the water but is promptly picked up by handy crew (Simon and Sanna) down below.  The roller is taken down for inspection and the diagnosis is confirmed.  We find a replacement which is taken up the mast and all of a sudden everything is again OK…only crew (skipper) is a bit exhausted and will do so for the night so we hobble along with the genua.  We are making a reasonable speed.

Hans makes a casserole in the pressure cooker; very tasty indeed.

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ARC 2015
fredag 4 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 53
Magnus is the racing sailor among us. Concentrating heavily!

After sunrise we clear the decks from flying fish.  Three of them, which were promptly filleted.  Night has been bumpy and sleep not terribly good so breakfast is slow and sequential.

We investigate the gennaker.  The manoeuvring lines are twisted at the top and we try to fix this.  Then we set the gennaker again without a problem and once more we tear along at 8 knots with surfs of >15 knots.

The day is very clear…and hot.  The wind, however, is fresh and it doesn’t get sultry. Lunch on fried fly fish, bacon and fried potatoes, cole slaw.  Very good, indeed.

We sing a bit in the cockpit, some rest, some steer the ship.  In the evening we have Sausage Stroganoff on choritzo sausages, Simon outperforms himself.  Orio cheese cake for dessert.

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ARC 2015
torsdag 3 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Captain's blog day 52
The old and somewhat smaller gennaker. Worked very well.

Sunrise at 0830, we are getting westwards.  Good speed and a lot of rested sailors gather in the cockpit.  Today, Sanna’s mother and skipper’s sister in law celebrates her 60th birthday.  We make a satellite call.

Noonish we think that speed is not sufficient and we decide to hoist the small gennaker.  The is about 175 square meters and a bit “deep”, better for sailing also almost down wind.  Works fine and over the next 10 hours we make a mean 8 knots.

The afternoon is magic.  Quick sailing and a bit of rolling over swells that the increasing wind builds up.  Dinner consists of a salmon casserole that Sanna puts together + pressure-cooked potatoe . 

At 2200 the steering crew reports increasing wind, 26-28 knots, and the gennaker is too much.  So up we go with deck lights lit and torches available.  Again the snuffer doesn’t work but we manage to collapse the gennaker behind the genua and bring it in under this sail.  Elegant indeed.

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