Captain's Log, Stardate:
The ARC Crossing
Escape Cay and crew crossing the starting line in Las Palmas, 11/25/01. Photos by WindEvent.
Well the big day came and we all took to the air like a flock of geese. The trick at the start (for a non-racing sailor) was to avoid hitting one of the other 243 boats. We didn't so the start was a success.
Although there were hundreds of sailboats around us to start, they kept thinning out until, 24 hours later, there were none! Although racing is a game of skill, it also depends a lot on luck, i.e. who will get the most favorable wind. Some boats go straight for St. Lucia, some go south a little in the hopes of picking up stronger trade winds, and some go way south. We have chosen the later on the advice of a friend sitting at home in MN staring at internet weather charts. After our first 24 hours, Mary checked the web site (www.worldcruising.com) and noted we were 46th in the field. Like I said, we're not sailors of the racing ilk. But we have a gourmet cook on board and breathtaking views of the ocean with its 12 foot waves. You may think those are too big but they push you along, allowing you to surf, literally, down their sides! Nonetheless, we hope they don't get any bigger. And, if they happen to get a bit smaller, we're going to see what Layne can do with fresh fish.
Yesterday morning (Monday) at 10:05, we were doing 11 kts in 28 kts of true wind behind us when we all heard a terrible crash. The boat came nearly to a complete stop for a few seconds and then began to accelerate again. We knew we had hit something. We had all heard of containers falling off ships in a storm and floating mostly submerged posing a real hazard to sailboats. "Was that what we hit?, we thought as we rushed out of the saloon to the cockpit? NO! We observed a 20 foot area of brown water and then, to our disbelief, a huge whale! But there was no blood so we think the event simply scared the brown stuff out of all five of us.
We immediately checked for damage and found one small leak in the starboard hull and notice our knot log (speed indicator) ceased working, probably because the little paddle wheel on the bottom of the hull was smashed. When the boat was built, we opted for skegs (fins that project downward in front of the propeller and rudders to protect them from just such a calamity and they appeared to have done their job because the steering appeared unaffected.
Other than that, nothing unusual has happened. Will keep you posted. Hope all is well with you!
>From N 24, W 20.5, this is the crew of Escape Cay signing off.