Captain's Log, Stardate:
Ready for the ARC
After arriving in the northeasterly most of the Canary Islands, our crew departed and Mary and I once again were without outside companionship. We took about a week to sail the remaining 150 miles or so to Gran Canaria, the source of the ARC each November.
The last leg of that journey was quite exhilarating. We sailed the 50 miles from the S end of Fuertaventura to Las Palmas with 20-25 kts of wind on our beam. Escape Cay, like most other sailboats, likes to have the wind on her beam and shows her appreciation by pushing the boat through the water at, for this trip anyway, an average of 10 kts (about 11 mph). Hence, we made the trip in just over four hours. Some friends we met in Fuertaventure left 45 minutes before us and arrived over three hours later. As the brochure proclaims, this boat is "Fast, safe, and comfortable." Now if we can just keep the white side up!
It's a bit surreal here in Las Palmas. We are in the marina along with 225 other boats all preparing to make the 2800 mile crossing. Almost everyone you meet will also make the crossing. Of all the possible landfalls on the other side, we are all going to only one, St. Lucia. That is by choice simply because we all signed up for the "ARC," or Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. For whatever reason, though, none of us will leave even one minute before November 25 at 1:00 p.m. In that regard, we are like the birds gathering on telephone wires in the fall waiting for some mysterious signal at which time they all take to the air at once. Rain or shine, at 1 p.m. on the 25th, this place will be like a ghost town.
That will suit all of us on board just fine. We have all fantasized about this adventure for a long time and tomorrow we will set sail with not much less apprehension than Columbus had 500 years ago. As it turns out, the way he did it originally is still the most favored way of making the passage today. From Europe, you head south to the Canaries and only then, do you turn southwest. To do otherwise would be to invite adverse winds but, by going south before turning west, you pick up the "trade winds" which blow reliably out of the east.
Well, we've still got a million things to do so will sign off. You can follow the progress of us and other boats by logging onto www.worldcruising.com. I will try to send you a few words if anything noteworthy happens. Hope all is well with you,
Lee, Eric Jacobsen, Ron Stoffle, and Layne Carver