With one more sleep to go before our Atlantic crossing, the atmosphere around here has suddenly become charged with excited anticipation. I popped into the ARC office earlier and things are definitely a little tense. Everyone’s full of excitment, but there’s certainly an element of anxiety amongst most of the crews. Neil said that he was having a drink at the bar earlier and witnessed a full on marriage meltdown between two ARC participants, which I completely sympathise with! I may or may not have thrown my toys out of the pram a few days ago myself, and I’m pretty chilled out most of the time!
Wednesday night was the ARC Dress Up Party, and the theme was 80s films. I can now reveal that Nick, Neil and I dressed up as the cast from Flash Gordon (John said, “I don’t do fancy dress” so he missed out on half the fun as far as I’m concerned!). Nick was, of course, Ming the Merciless, while I chose to be Princess Aura (Ming’s daughter- yes, slightly creepy, but her outfit was actually the easiest to replicate without resorting to sparkly bikini tops, which I definitely have not got the abs to pull off right now), and Neil was the hero of the day, Mr Flash Gordon himself. We made the costumes ourselves, and were pretty relieved that plenty of other people made a huge effort- not always guaranteed!
Nick and I didn’t win any of the best dressed prizes, but a quick poll (including the winners of Best Couple) confirmed what we already knew: we’d been cheated of a win! Nick especially. He looked amazing. Such a shame Emperor Ming lost out to Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. Who would have thought?
Thursday was a slow one. We acquainted Neil and John with the boat and then went out for a test before our Atlantic crossing. It was actually the first time we’ve all sailed as a crew of four, which is a bit weird considering how much sailing we’ve done in company. But it all went smoothly, and boosted our spirits seeing how well we worked together at this early stage. By the time we arrive in the Caribbean following our Atlantic crossing, we’ll be like a well oiled machine.
We also took delivery of our meat order, which was an exciting moment, at least for me. We managed to fit it all in the bottom baskets of the fridge, where it will stay frozen (unless the fridge breaks, or someone knocks the temperature dial up, or some other catastrophe- but I’m trying not to think about that).
Thursday night we went to the last Sundowners and knocked back our two free beers, before heading to the old town for Thursday night tapas. Every Thursday is tapas night, and all the bars offer a beer and a tapa for about €3, which basically translates into a tapa-based bar crawl- my favourite type of bar crawl, frankly! We went with Tim and Magda, a Canadian couple who were originally meant to be on the ARC+ and started their Atlantic crossing , but had to turn around 100 miles away when their rudder stock started leaking. They’ve been lifted out ever since sorting that out and are now taking part in the ARC with the rest of us. Actually, they’ve just signed up for the World ARC, which is exciting (for them!).
Friday night was the ARC Farewell Party, and a chance for everyone to get together and de-stress before the Atlantic crossing .I think we really needed it: the forecast had made us a bit jumpy and we were suddenly feeling slightly worried that the first few days at sea weren’t going to be as enjoyable as we’d hoped. However, once we’d gotten a couple of drinks into us and the band had started, we let our hair down and danced the night away. An awesome moment was when a massive congo line formed in front of a guy with a GoPro- I’d love to see that footage one day!
Yes, even John is having a good time!
Today is our last day of preparations before the start of our Atlantic crossing tomorrow. That meant a lazy morning drinking coffee in the cockpit before Nick and I trundled off to the skippers briefing. There was a lot of talk about the start and where everyone is meant to be, and what we’re all meant to be doing, and then we got to the good stuff: the forecast!
So, in the words of the ARC meteorologist, Chris Tibbs, the trade winds are “well established.” In other words, it’s going to be pretty lively out there for the first few days (not too crazy- 18-23 knots from the NE, so coming from behind- hopefully the swell won’t be too bad and we can get some decent speed up without compromising on too much rest), then it will settle slightly on Tuesday, but it looks like a fairly fast crossing overall!
This afternoon was a festival of fruit and vegetable stowage, and a trip back to the supermarket to pick up any last minute purchases that we’d forgotten or weren’t sure we’d have room for. I’m pleased to say that everything fits- just!
So, one more sleep then we’re off on our Atlantic crossing ! You can track us on the tracking page on our website, but that will just show a little boat with lots of blue around it- not overly helpful! It might be better to follow us on the World Cruising Club website, here. The actual page for the fleet viewer is here (our event is ‘ARC’, not ‘ARC +’) although if you’re on a tablet you’ll need to download the app (you’ll be prompted as you try and open the page). For those on a laptop or PC or whatever, you should be able to view it without an app.
We’ll be writing a log posted to the official ARC website, here, where you can peruse our logs as well as everyone else’s. Obviously on our arrival in Saint Lucia, I’ll be writing up the mother of all blogs to bring you all up to speed!
So, that’s it for now! See you in three weeks! (ARRGGGHHHH!)