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28 November 2005, 09:17 am
Turn Right When The Butter Melts...
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Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2005
Las Palmas, ESP to St Lucia

Many of the fleet that have been duly heading south are now delighted to at last be able to hang a right and turn onto a more westerly course for St. Lucia. "We've now reached as far South as we intended on the first leg" report About Time, "and we're turning right, heading SW, with the wind behind us, en route for St. Lucia. We can almost smell the rum and hear the reggae".
With predicted trades coming in on Tuesday, the boats are counting down the days after experiencing every other type of weather you can imagine amongst the fleet. Although the 'southerners' are basking in hot sunshine, those that opted for the more northerly route are definitely having a rough ride of it. One such ARC yacht - Charliz, a Beneteau '57, reported having a 'battering' in the early hours of this morning. "We had up to 60 knots (of wind over the deck) and used ½ tank of fuel escaping the storm (backwards). Everybody is safe and well but we are now sailing south in 22 knots no nearer our destination. We go where the wind takes us".

In contrast, the crew of Persuasion in more southern latitudes reported this morning, "It's been a fabulous 48 hours and progress has been excellent. In 24 hours we clicked up 161 miles with the Genoa goose-winged out. The temperature has been around 28 Celsius for most of the day. Spirits are good and we look forward to more fun to come."

With so much rocking and rolling, chafe can be a major issue on such a voyage and several yachts in the fleet have started to suffer with this. Effies Cottage lost her drifter yesterday when the halyard severed at the top of the mast due to chaffing on the cheeks of the pulley, as did Whitehaven who lost their headsail overboard. "We jumped into action to get the sail back on board. Unfortunately, the belly of the sail had started to fill with water and was acting like a huge drogue. Geoff and Greg hung on for dear life, almost getting dragged into the water in the process. All hands to the sail and we soon had it back on board although Geoff & Greg's knuckles now drag along the deck as their arms are 3 feet longer!" We are glad to see there is still plenty of humour out there!

The Cape Verdes are quickly becoming a popular pit-stop for many ARC yachts who are passing by. Reports from the fleet indicate that the local services are feeling the pre-Christmas rush; "If you haven't been to the Cape Verdes you may not be sure what to expect. Well not a lot is the answer", says yacht Whitbread. "Greeted on the pontoon by a man selling fuel and fruit in exchange for beer, ourselves and 4 other ARC yachts nestled into this small fishing town. With the majority of the crew venturing into town to attempt to buy provisions, it soon became apparent this was going to be harder than we had thought, so most of us hit the pub instead. Not a single shop would take credit cards, coinage of any description, or indeed anything other than hard currency in the form of notes. The banks and cash machines were all empty and apparently only had money at certain times of the year. Each of the crew had their own little adventure on this tiny island."

For those not making the pit-stop, food is becoming an issue as after one week at sea fresh supplies are starting to rapidly diminish. Yacht Empire updated us on their store cupboard; "The storage of fresh meat is soon finished - looking forward to eating fish. Vegetable situation - the broccoli died 2 days ago. All the bananas got yellow the same day - finished. The tomatoes will die tomorrow. Green apples - should have bought more. It's good that we grow tinned fruit and veg in the storage."

Wildlife continues to be spotted by many boats and in particular many whales this year. British yacht Ocean Strider were delighted to be visited by "black fins"; "We all rushed up on deck to sit at the bow & watch a wonderful display from approx 20 whales up to 4 meters long for an hour. What a privilege! What a display! I'm sure they knocked the boat a couple of times. We could even hear them 'talk' to each other. They were not on our cetacean list but Accomplice identified them as Force whales, not usually seen around here apparently."

The incredible adventure continues.
Sue Richards (As Amended by ISAF)
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