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24 November 2005, 12:56 pm
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Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2005
Las Palmas, Canaries, Spain - St Lucia

After a drifting lazy day on Tuesday, most of the ARC fleet managed to find some wind yesterday, 23 November. Out came the colourful spinnakers and cruising chutes to make the most of the more favourable wind direction and strength. A glorious day, but no guarantee of settled trade winds yet as an Atlantic Low forces the fleet to take a southerly course, avoiding its stormy potential.
Our diarist on Kasuje, sums up the dilemma; "we are sailing along southwestwards about 90 miles off the African coast trying to get south to find the trade winds and avoid a low pressure system that is west of us. I remember this time last year watching the ARC website and wondering why most of the boats went south from the start. Why were they not going west to where they are trying to get to? Silly people. Now I know!"

Whilst not considered a weather threat to the fleet, the American National Hurricane Centre has issued a weather advisory about the Atlantic Low currently at 27N 40W. The ARC weather forecasters are keeping a careful eye on the depression, ready to warn the fleet if it should strengthen or alter its track. For crews on the yachts, this is comforting, as Kasuje again explain "I would say also that we are really impressed with the way we are being looked after by the ARC Radio Net. We received an extremely comprehensive weather report and roll-call yesterday, and will do every day. It is very comforting to know that that ARC Net system is there".

The ARC Net has also enabled a warning of suspicious vessels approaching yachts off the African coast to be relayed throughout the fleet. Whilst most likely an innocent fishing vessel, these reports are taken seriously and yachts are heading further offshore, away from the African coast as a result.

Fish are a hot topic in our daily logs from the fleet, with frequent reports of tuna, and dorado being landed. Today's prize for perfect timing must go to the crew of Whitbread, who landed a fine tuna whilst their barbeque was alight. The unfortunate fish went from hook to grill in a matter of minutes, providing a tasty snack for the crew.

Dolphins and whales a plenty in the reports from the fleet. "I feel like an extra in Wildlife on One" says Graham from Inis Saior. "I saw a huge whale (not sure what kind) rise out of the water and splash, by the time the rest of the crew were on deck, its tail had lifted (like the footage you see on the TV) and it had gone." Surrounded by a large pod of dolphins Whitbread reported "the sea came alive with a dolphin feeding frenzy. We can only assume that the dolphins were feeding on the massive tuna that were leaping out of the water." Not to be out done in the marine safari race, on Northern Child today has been nominated as turtle day - "we have had turtles floating by sunbathing all day. Some of them up to a meter in length, they raise their heads out of the water as we go sailing by and regard us with mild curiosity" said skipper Julian in his log.

Life at sea today has been good for most crews; best summed up by Heidi on Empire - "The boat is moving, the Captain is good, the crew are skilled and life is on tracks. We are all having the time of our lives."

We will finish today with this choice quote reported by Liz from Disco Inferno 2, overheard on the daily radio net: " voice on air - "I'm new to this sailing thing, can you give me any tips on how to go faster?" then the reply heard by all over the radio waves "put your engine on!"
Jeremy Wyatt (As Amended by ISAF)
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