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11 December 2003, 10:28 am
Boats Arrive En Masse
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Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

From around 6am yesterday morning, the ARC boats started pouring in thick and fast!
Over 50 yachts are now safely in port in St.Lucia and are enjoying a little local hospitality and re-living tales of their crossing with crews from other yachts. The atmosphere in Rodney Bay Marina is extremely lively and every new arrival is greeted to the sound of welcoming fog horns and a crowd on the dockside.

For those crews still at sea, there have been many reports over the past few days of crews enduring sticky tropical heat, made worse with a lack of breeze to cool them off.

Calliopy reported: "This has been the hottest, most humid day of the crossing, exacerbated by the lack of cool propelling wind." On board Elandra of Hamble one crew member comments: "Scottish people are not designed for these conditions, the sun becomes an enemy during the day. However, as a reward for not destroying the spinnaker we have each been promised a fresh water shower on Wednesday by the skipper. This can't come soon enough for some of the crew members especially as the days are getting hotter and hotter."

With a steady flow of boats now arriving in St Lucia, the number of daily logs we are receiving is diminishing slowly but as yachts make landfall, they are keeping us updated of their thoughts and experiences. Northern Child of St Peter Port arrived in Rodney Bay yesterday morning. Their final log expresses how most crews are feeling after the Transatlantic adventure: "We've made it - we finally crossed the finishing line at 0808 local time (1208 UTC) on the 9th of December! The wind went very light for us on our approach to Pigeon Island and we slowly inched forward into Rodney Bay. A long blast on the horn of the finishing boat and it was all over - we had sailed and hand steered some 2,750 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean together. We were the 35th yacht to finish, out of a total of about 220, and we were the 25th boat to have finished having sailed all the way and not motored."

Jesper on Freedom of Hamble, describes the feeling of making landfall. "Land Ahoy!" - at 0628 this morning Paul sighted land and then we started to see more and more as several parts of St Lucia materialised as well as Martinique to the north west. What a feeling of elation after nearly 2800 miles - the end was in sight."

Intrepid of Dover have been up hotting up their pace a little with a few other yachts in sight: "Normally we are pretty relaxed, but yesterday morning when a sail and spinnaker came up over the horizon, the Big Green Monster was up pretty smartish and they slowly sank back beneath the horizon. Same for another boat in the afternoon and we chased another one ahead - which was 8.4 miles then 7.8, then night fell and we lost them!"

Meanwhile the crew on Tenacious reported whale sightings: "The quarter to nine meeting was completely disrupted today by the appearance of whales. Between two and five Minke whales, within yards of the ship and up to 20 feet long. They seemed to be looking at us as we could see their white bellies which meant they were on their sides. One person in the lower mess saw them through the porthole they were so close - what excitement!"
Bruce Gaynham (As amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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