• Richard and Petra

Atlantic Tomorrow! Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Starts!

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We are ready to go! The last 10 days have been devoted to preparing for our 3000 mile ocean crossing to St Lucia. We arrived in Las Palmas early last week after a windy and boisterous sail from Fuerte Ventura! we encountered 6 metre waves which occasionally joined us in the cockpit! This made for a wet but exciting and fast sail and a really good arm work out on the helm! Las Palmas is a large maritime city and commercial Port and there were plenty of ships and boats to negotiate on entry to the marina!

The atmosphere in the Marina has been buzzing with energy as crew from 200 boats prepare to cross the Atlantic. We have had a radio check, rig check, safety equipment check and attended interesting seminars and fantastic parties! The event officially started with a parade last Sunday. It was exciting to be part of this shared adventure and flags from the 35 countries that are partaking were paraded around the marina. We were accompanied by a Samba band before speeches and then raising the flags concluded the opening ceremony.

Our round the world adventure started 4 months ago on July 5th when we departed from Deganwy and we have already sailed over 3000 miles. Although we do daily, weekly and monthly maintenance checks we have had a variety of pre-passage jobs to undertake. Firstly, mending the foresail furling mechanism with parts brought from the UK by Richard’s sister! These had been ordered for us by our rigger in Deganwy! Thanks Byron👍

Secondly, fitting a new VHF aerial on top of the mast has improved our radio communications;

View from the top,

We needed a break from the constant visits to the chandlery shop and riggers so we joined an organised trip out to plant trees at a re foresting program. Other crews and many of the children from family boats got on a coach to travel to the hill top farm. It was cold (18C), wet, foggy and windy and we rediscovered mud! There were sheep, cows and chickens almost like being in Wales, apart from the prickly pears!

To remind me even more of being in Conwy, one of my book club friends (Anne), arrived for the day on a cruise ship. So she came round for a beer!

The ARC is a social event and sponsored Sundowners for an hour every evening have proved a good way to meet other ARC crew. One of the best nights out was the “Once upon a time” themed fancy dress party! Richard and I didn’t win any prizes for Dick Whittington and his cat, in fact we were mistaken for a leprechaun and Tigger! Ha ha! We had great fun dancing in a surreal crowd of characters from Pinochio to Princess Leah!!

During an ocean crossing safety Is of course paramount, so a helicopter rescue was staged.

Followed by an opportunity to set off a hand held flare.

Life-rafts were launched in the pool!

Back on board Celtic Star provisioning for 21 days at sea was stowed.

We attended the farewell party last night and we have just returned from the skippers briefing. We are now sober and sensible for our departure tomorrow and the voyage ahead. Besides our livers need to recover ready for St Lucia!

Adios Espagna!

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