The Finish Line

What a fantastic feeling, we had sailed the Atlantic Ocean, one small boat with 6 crew, and  finished 61st out of 174 entries in the 2017 ARC, not a bad effort for our first attempt.

First night ashore, can’t remember much about that, but I know we have made friends for life.

Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia.

Looking forward to the next voyage back on Mr Blue Sky.

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Nearing the end

As we drew close to St Lucia there was an air of excitement, three weeks on a small boat with the same few people was enough, and we were ready to get off and enjoy the fruits of the land.

Land ahoy; 35 miles out and there is St Lucia, such a fantastic sight. Three weeks, just over 3000 miles and we were nearly there, a very emotional time.

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Mobile phones were out, and we patiently waited for the signal strength to build for the first call home.

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Life on board

Routine maintenance was a necessity everyday, as chafe is the biggest problem with downwind sailing, so we kept a keen eye on the pinch points and anywhere sheets could rub.

The sleeping arrangements were basic as you’d imagine, when I say sleeping I mean lying down, braced against the hull and strapped to the lee cloth with eyes shut.

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Life on board was never dull, although three weeks at sea did drag a little toward the end, so we had to make our own entertainment.

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Øyvind was not left out, he was along for the ARC as ships lucky mascot.

Blue Planet day

Of course you have to take time out of the race for sight seeing, so when we had a day of little or no wind, we kept lookout for any activity on the surface and hunted them down for a photo shoot.

The amazing creatures we encountered were; Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, Dolphins (several types) Sharks, Sea Turtles, Flying Fish, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, Marlin, and various sea birds.

 

We even took a dip mid Atlantic, but didn’t stay in long as had just encountered a shark feeding on a dead tuna.

Atlantic Sky

One of the amazing sights out in an ocean is the sky, day or night there is something special about an undisturbed horizon in every direction.

Sunrise and sunset are incredible, a different scene is provided for drifting sailors every day.

Storms build, your senses are really alive as the wind gathers strength, the sails harness the power and the boat takes off on the increasing swell.

South until the butter melts they say, then turn right. We went as far south as Cape Verde (867miles) and then headed west, had the added bonus of a mobile signal so took advantage and called home.

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The Start

Boats slipped their lines and headed out in turn to prepare for the start, 3000 nautical miles to Rodney Bay, St Lucia in the sunny Caribbean Sea.

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The race began with light wind so most, if not all flew kites and spinnakers. This proved to be a test later as the fleet rounded the South Coast into the WAZ (wind acceleration zone), where a few sails blew out, and later Rapido, the race favourite, was diss-masted.

The first night tested the metal of all crews, with a NE F6-7 and confused sea state for 60 miles, but by sunrise it had settled to a gentle F4 and moderate swell.

The ARC had begun, and the crew of Just Joia settled down to begin the routine of sail trimming and changes, maintenance, watch keeping, galley duties, fishing etc etc etc.

This is it, time to set out to the deep blue…..

Last blog for a few weeks, we leave today at 12.30h Sunday 19th November. We will turn SE out of Las Palmas and when past the bottom of Gran Canaria, we will bare off toward the SW, next stop Rodney Bay, St Lucia 2700 nautical miles.

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08.00hr clouds continue to form over Las Palmas, as second low develops out in the Atlantic.
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10.00hr clouds getting organised

Boat is fully provisioned, crew are briefed, ship shape and good to go. If you want to follow our progress, download YB Tracker App and then follow Race ARC Gran Canaria to St Lucia 2017. Search teams and we are ‘Just Joia’. World Cruising Club have Facebook under Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, no doubt they will have ongoing news of the teams.

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Top line is race route, lower Just Joia planned track.

Crew gathers for morning briefing, the new low on left of screen is the main topic. The race division will no doubt go straight for it, but Just Joia is heading South to skirt around toward Cape Verde Islands, before we head West for St Lucia.

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The crew are looking forward to my galley duty.

Watch rota drawn up, we all have our time on duty indicated by A for Ad & B for Bob etc etc, mother is galley duty.

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11.00hr clouds are clearing

Final check aloft, Skipper Ollie has one last inspection of the fleet!

Just Joia heads out of Port with the fleet, next stop Rodney Bay.

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Able seaman Bob & Ad – game face on 😠

We’ll see you the other side, farewell from Bob & Ad. 🤢