Wednesday 1.11.2017 – Las Palmas

 

Thursday, 2.11.2017 Las Palmas

 

The final preparation round starts:

 

-          Get some textile fabric for mosquito nets

 

-          Doris needs a new sewing machine as her old one sometimes refuses to work

 

-          Santjana is decorated with her set of signal flags as requested by the ARC manual

 

-          Bilge pump is arrived, the change of the defective pump shall happen soon

 

-          Jörg of SSB Yachtfunk catches us finally on board (sorry Joerg for that!) to final tune and check our SSB radio setup

 

-          Replace light on the life buoy

 

-          Doris preparing a menu plan for the three weeks to prepare our shopping list.

 

Friday, 3.11.2017 Las Palmas

 

-          Thanks to Jörgs help our SSB radio is up and running and we can send and receive e-mail over shortwave connections.

 

-          Prepare a new preventer to secure our boom during downwind passages

 

-          Farewell party for the ARC+ fleet and welcome party for the ARC members like us two

 

For the party Doris is looking for a shirt printing boot o get a T-shirt with our crew logo.

 

At the party, we enjoy the tapas served there as well as a few chats with some other crews.
Between the live rock-band steams up the sailors with some classic rock pieces. The return to our boat is stopped by a heavy shower which we wait at the sailor’s bay.

 

Saturday, 4.11.2017 Las Palmas

 

-          Pickup our spare glasses in town

 

-          Doris can pick-up her new sewing machine thus she is extremely prepared for future sewing jobs!

 

-          The ordered navigational charts are not arrived yet, the search where the might be is very cumbersome

 

-          Doris is digging in our stowage compartment which is a bit messy at the moment and clears it up!

 

-          The new Man over Board module is mounted to the guard rail

 

-          Check in at the ARC office, Thomas is guiding us through all the details giving us some more helpful information and a litre of milk. We already wondered what the ARC staff is doing with all this milk boxes! Thanks for the very friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the check-in.
The security check is scheduled for Monday afternoon, we are already curious how this will happen.

 

-          The phone call with Nico was a great joy and a highlight as always. It is always very nice to talk to each other directly and to feel very close despite the long geographical distance between us.

 

-          At night there was a firework display in the harbour as farewell to ARC+ group, it was spectacular and nice to see from board!

 

Sunday, 5.11.2017

 

-          Bad surprise, Doris has fever, headache, pains in legs and arms, obviously she caught a flue somewhere, all the best to recover!

 

-          I’m still after our Imray charts and pilots order, unfortunately TNT is closed over the weekend to investigate any further

 

-          We watch the start of the ARC+ fleet in very nice weather, wind is still fair here. More down the island there will be more wind in the acceleration zones around the airport and southern end of the island. We wish a safe trip and fair winds to all boats and participants!

 

-          I exchange the cover of the sink and seal all the corners to avoid water seeping in the corners and gaps

 

-          Replacing the bilge pump

 

-          Mounting the pactor modem under the radio shelf, unfortunately there is only a tight space underneath and I must bend and twist myself like a contortionist!

 

-          The soup with sausage is very tasty and the glass of wine with it even more.

 

We follow the start preparations of the ARC+ Crews which will leave today. At 13.00 the start signal is given and the ARC+ yachts sail off. A strange feeling coms to us since in two weeks we will be leaving Las Palmas as well and heading out into the ocean. We read in the ARC news that Twenty-Twenty caught their first fish after an our out at sea. At least they will not starve of hunger even their autopilot stops working after some time. Hopefully we do not face the same problem with ours!

 

Monday, 6.11.2017 Las Palmas

 

Today we have our ARC security check. After our breakfast we prepare all the necessary security equipment which is mandatory for the ARC Rally. Things like emergency tiller, the grab-bag and its content etc. The ARC expert Wilhelm Greiff takes point by point from the checklist and leads us through the various security items. Beside two minor things which we have to re-check again there is nothing bigger which would prevent us from going ahead.

 

Tuesday, 7.11.2017 Las Palmas

 

We continue our preparation works

 

Wednesday, 8.11.2017 Roundtrip on the island by car

 

Around nine we get our car for today. First, we visit the gas station down the highway to have our gas bottle refilled. After an hour waiting at the DISA gate we were told that this French gas bottle can’t be refilled at Gran Canarias. We continue our drive and stop at the Le Roy Merlin (Bauhaus), where we buy some parts and pieces. Around half past eleven we eventually start our sight-seeing tour of Gran Canarias.

 

Thursday, 9.11. – Thursday 15.11.2017

 

The days are filled with preparation jobs and various ARC seminars of different topics like route and weather on the Atlantic passage, management of emergencies like rigg failures, fire, man over board etc.
On Friday 10. of November we join the ARC tree planting project and help to plant some 130 small trees which we only notice in the evening, when we could feel our back after walking up- and downhill for some hours.

 

On Sunday 12.11.2017 the official ARC opening ceremony takes place with the parade of the crew around the Marina. Like at the Olympic games all the different nationalities gather behind their national flags and walk to the sound of two Spanish music bands. There are 31 different nationalities attending the ARC 2017 among them the swiss group is small but fine.

 

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On Monday we go to the supermarket to buy all the long-lived food as well as water bottles and other supplies. All in all, we fill-up three big shopping carriages, excluding the 8 big water containers. Luckily Hyperdino brings all the stuff to our berth. We just have to load everything and board and then to stow it somewhere in practical places where we get again at all the stuff without taking apart all the supplies.

 

Tuesday is again stuffed with other ARC seminars, beside we are working on our mosquito nets (thanks to Doris and her new sewing machine) installing the blocks and ropes needed for down-wind sailing. And we need some new shoes for Doris and stamps for postcards. We found the later but the search for new shows was not successful unfortunately.

 

On Wednesday morning 15.11.17 Doris tries to find a bank which can change Euros into US Dollars. It is a time-consuming task, obviously the “standard” banks are not allowed to hand over foreign currencies.
After some extensive search and asking around we find such an exchange thanks to Dr. Google.
I fiddle round with the fridge cover, since some condensation liquid drips from underneath the fridge. I do not really find a good solution but at least we can use the drawer underneath to store some beer cans
.

 

The departure on Sunday afternoon on 19.11.17 is getting closer and closer. We wake-up at 05.00 in the morning and then the cinema in our minds gets turning and turning …..

 

I must complete and finish this and that:

 

-          What did I forget?

 

-          How should I do this?

 

-          What will be the weather like?

 

-          Where to I get weather information from?

 

-          How should I handle the backstays, when sailing downwind?

 

-          The spare belt for the engine is still missing and needs to be bought.

 

-          How do we attach our mosquito net in the cockpit?

 

-          The Wind pilot self-steering needs also some hands-on to be put into operation

 

-          I must clean the speedo to measure the accurate boat speed

 

-          Etc…

 


Very quickly it is 7.00 time to get up and find the answers to all questions. In the evening we have some time during the ARC sundowners to chat with the other crews and to relax a bit from the laden day. Occasionally, we enjoy our own sundowner in our own cockpit just the two of us. The ARC team at Las Palmas is very helpful with all the questions arising

 


Saturday 18.11.2017

 

Slowly but growing quite rapidly we feel a rising excitement as the departure time is getting nearer and nearer. Still we have some tasks on our list like replacing the gas bottle Of course the connection from the actual French gas bottle is not compatible with the Spanish gas bottle and needs to be replaced as well! Then we do some dry training on the topic of down-wind sailing, on a moving boat it will be and additional challenge to handle to whole thing only double handed. Soon the last day is over, time to get a shower and to join the last ARC sundowner at Las Palmas. We have a last dinner together to get some time for the two of us. Unfortunately, the restaurant which we have chosen for dinner is already crowded. So, we start with some Tapas as appetizer somewhere else and return to the restaurant of our desire after an hour or so. We enjoy once again the Tuna Carpaccio and Anchovies in vinaigrette followed by Spaghetti with salmon. To conclude the evening we enjoy the farewell fireworks out in the harbor.

 

Sunday, 19.11.2017

 

What a day! How long we waited for it and how fast it is finally arrived! Our dream comes true!

 

After a short sleep, since we both awake right after three o’clock and kept turning til seven o’clock.
We really enjoyed our last phone call with Nico around 10.00, it was just great to talk to him prior the departure.
Then the final last tasks need to be completed like throwing away the garbage bag, get rid of the old gas bottle, preparing the lines to leave the berth, prepare our life wests. Parallel we tried to get a glimpse when the other boats are already leaving the marina like the boats of the racing class which are ahead of our Cruising group.

 

The mood is just amazing everywhere as some Spanish bands are playing and walking around the marina. At 12.30 we have to leave our berth and head for the start box.
So many people are watching this spectacle are waving at the passing boats. We leave the port of Las Palmas and out it goes onto the Atlantic Ocean! We have to pay attention to all the boats around us since everybody is trying to get the best out of their position and wind.
The start signal is punctually given at 13.00 and off it goes! We have a nice wind, not as much as the boats of the ARC+ boats two weeks ahead of us.
The bigger boats disappear rapidly on the horizon by pulling up their big Spinnaker sails. Many sail round Maspalomas towards Tenerife trying to get more wind on the northern route.
We decided for the smoother way and take the southern route which leads us close north of the Capverdies. Unfortunately, around the Capverdies is not much wind, and we need to motor-sail quite some time, thus burning quite some of our spare fuel we carried in Jerry cans on deck.

 

We enjoyed our first dinner at sea with Tomatoes salad and Mozzarella.

 

Week 1 - 20.- 26.11.2017

 

Monday, 20.11.2017

 

At  19.00 Doris goes to sleep. In the night we must reef our sails due to stronger wind, unfortunately during the off-time of Doris.
We slept very well during our first night, even the reef line caught one of the mast steps and needs to be unshackle again by entering up the mast….

 

At 12.00 we have our first short wave ARC call with the other boats in our group. On the first call we have only 6 boats which join in, quite relaxing.

The skipper has some problems to regain his sea-legs, obviously the mast climbing was no good to him. After a scrambled egg in the afternoon he feels better again. The wind disappears again in the evening, we have to restart the engine once more.

At sunset we detect, that the sail bag was torn on one side and needs a few stiches, which proved as a challenging task for Doris in the shaky environment.


 

Tuesday, 21.11.2017

 

We enjoy the good wind and the warm temperatures. After 10.00 Doris goes to bed again to get some sleep after I had to call her out of bed at 03.00 to set sails!
After 15.30 we motor south again, it makes no sense to stand there with flapping sails and making only 1 or 2 knots of speed.


 

Our dinner consists of a vegetable pot-au-feu with some sausage cuts in it. It was very tasty!
We decided not to catch fish, since we are only two on board ad would have quite some problem to eat a big fish ourselves. And just killing the fish for cutting out the best pieces and throwing the rest back into the water again was not what we want either.

 

Wednesday, 22.11.17

 

On watch since 02.00 with bright stars on a dark sky. During the day it was quite warm, not to say hot. Unfortunately, again very light wind. The meager 6kn of wind are not sufficient to fill our sails and move us forward. Especially not with that swell from the side!

Thursday, 23.11.17

 

Another day relying on the motor and no gas station around us. We are somehow glad to hear that the other boats around us struggle with the same problem. The boats on the northern route have plenty of wind some 30kn+, maybe we could trade some wind from them?
I have the Diesel blues!.

 

Friday 24.11.17

 

Today some wind we can use to sail, unfortunately right on our head. No problem, we can use it to get more south, even we get an incredible bend on our track when we check it on our plotter. Around 22.30 the wind dies off again!

 

Saturday, 25.11.17

 

We have some wind again since 02.00 which we use to save fuel.

 

Sunday, 26.11.2017

Nice weather, sunny, first light wind which we use for a bathing day. A short drop off the bathing ladder, some shampoo, another drop into the sea and the a short shower with sweet water to washdown all the salt. What a feeling!
Shortly after four o’clock the wind comes up again which allows us to sail again. Doris makes her famous Portuguese noddle salad for dinner!

 

Week 2 – 27.11. – 3.12.2017

 

Monday, 27.11.2017

 

It is cloudy, a grey sky around us. During the night a pocket in the sail bag has opened and a stiffening stick slides out more and more. No wonder by this rolly time yesterday. The swell is just coming from the side and throws us of course all the time. Hard work for the autopilot which need more power than usual. I want to get the self-steering wind pilot into operation quickly to save on power.


 

Tuesday, 29.11.2017

 

The Windpilot is not working to my satisfaction, somehow the course remains not stable. I try to find out if it is due to the swell or a trimming problem.
On a message from ARC Control we can read that on our route near Barbados a man of a double handed crew went over board during a sail maneuver and could not be found yet. We hope that he can be found and saved! We imagine this situation as we are also sailing double handed. Th man was busy with getting the spinnaker down and went over board by a sudden movement of the boat. Unfortunately, the boat ran over the spi which was picked up by the boats propeller thus disabling the possibility to start the engine and retrieving the man over board.

Wednesday, 30.11.2017

The wind is very variable again oth in strength and direction. Still we have swell from the side which shakes the boat around. The sail bang and flapp around, no real joy and fun at the moment. I still play round with the self-steering and do not get any further. Nevertheless, nice and warm weather.
In the ARC radio call we hear another episode of the famous bottle of red wine on the carpet…