Congratulations to Celtic Star and her Crew! Trans -Atlantic in 18 days!
We had an exciting start as Richard tacked and gybed Celtic Star with perfect timing to cross at the front of the racing fleet and we were off!
Keeping close to Gran Canaria we picked up the wind acceleration zone and we flew along southwards at 8-9 knots and surfing some of the waves at 11+ knots for 12 hours. The seas were short and the boat motion was challenging especially for our crew who haven't got their sea legs. But no one was sea sick and everyone made it through their first watch, although helming was too much of a challenge for most but the skipper and mate! My arm work up progressed well and my Popeye look is definitely refined. I even got a blister from helming on the first watch but still managed to cook a leek and walnut risotto for dinner which was welcomed by the hungry crew.
As darkness fell on the first night we were aware of other navigational lights all around us, some of which came closer and some moved away as the fleet slowly dispersed.
By morning the wind had settled and continued to reduce. Eventually we launched the spinnaker and 24 hours after the start we had made 160 miles and were 6 th in the racing fleet.
The day unfolded and finished with a beautiful sunset and stars, not so many navigation lights were visible as the ARC fleet separated, each on their own voyage, until by the fourth night no one was visible.
Only us and the blue ocean.
Over the next few days we guided our crew through the bill of watch, cleaning and cooking routines and the rhythm of the boat became established. SSB radio roll call at midday, along with sun sights and navigation, chart plotting. Weather downloads and satellite communication twice a day connected us to the world we have left behind.
The world of Celtic Star is the sails the ropes and the rigging, the wind,
the ocean and the sky. Sleep, eat, helm repeat!
Day 4 didn't start well, as lack of sleep made me feel wretched and nauseous. This was eventually resolved with food and a good afternoon sleep. We had our first success with fishing and Fresh Dorado made a delicious meal served with potatoes and green vegetables. Turns out that was our only success as the line, lures and hooks all got taken by something bigger for the rest of the passage.
The wind continued to dwindle and for a couple of days we only made 125 miles.
During the second day with little wind, Richard decided to go for a swim and so I joined in, trusting the crew with command of Celtic Star! Firstly we attached a rope with loops tied into it on the stern so we could have a tow. However, it is amazing how like live bait one feels whilst being dragged behind a boat, so a quick splash in then back out of the water was enough!
I had volunteered as one of the radio net controllers for the Arc (group A) SSB radio roll call. Before the Satellite trackers were used, radio and then email were the only method of monitoring the fleet. Now it forms a daily contact and chat forum between a group of similar size boats which have MF radio.
The wind finally dropped away all together and despite best efforts on day 6 we had to start the engine in order to make it to St Lucia before Xmas. So, we retired from the racing class, as the most important objective was to get across the Atlantic.
Less than 12 hours later the breeze came back and we launched the spinnaker sail again. Proficiency had increased and the launch went without problems. The boat goes faster under sail and is less noisy! The new moon now appeared low in the sky. It was a stunning sight as the unlit side was clearly visible and looked amazing through launched see with us on Friday morning.
Playing in the bow wave and crisscrossing our wake for an hour before they swam away to do other Dolphin activities! Flying fish became visible in greater numbers and flashed silver and blue as they skimmed the waves.
The night sky started as a stunning curve of endless stars and the sea had stars as well as the boats movement causes phosphorescence to sparkle and gleam all around us!
As we entered December the boat rhythm became well established. The crew rotated watch leader every 6 days, which keeps everyone happy. Crew morale remained high through the passage with a daily crew meeting over lunch at change of watch. Quizes, singing, a brain teaser And memory game helped to generate some fun. We also celebrated Alan’s 70 th birthday with a glass of fizz and cake!
Celtic Star performed well and we flew the spinnaker for 7 days in light winds with a boat speed of 6-7 knots and we passed 1000 miles at 13.17 hrs on 1st December at position 20.00*50'N 30*08'W!
Then the forecast came for for the wind to increase overnight so we dropped the spinnaker and sailed onwards with the white sails set on opposite sides of the boat. This is called “goose winged “and we stayed like that essentially for the next 1780 miles until Landfall st. Lucia!
We crossed the finish line at 13:15 UTC on Thursday 12 th December after 18 days at sea!
A wonderful warm welcome of rum punch and Fruit basket from St Lucia and the WCC staff.
Thanks to our brilliant crew and also for the photos as my phone died mid Atlantic!
We will be cruising here with the family until January when we head West again with the World Arc!
You can still Follow us on YB tracker !
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE WINDWARD ISLES!
Sent from my iPad