The ARC Europe departs from Tortola, BVI on May 6. Barry and I are crewing on Splendido, owned by our friend Michael. A fourth crew member, Janie, joined us today for the first leg to Bermuda. In Bermuda we will be joined by Nate and Amy for the trip across the pond departing on May 19. We'll cruise the Azores for a week then arrive in Lagos, Portugal around June 18. We'll be updating the log while underway on the ARC Europe web site, and will have a satellite tracker on board.
We were up early and efficiently got the dinghy and outboard on deck and secured for sea by 0730. The passage to St. Martin was only 36 miles, but it was exposed to the 4-6 foot northeast swell which had built up over several hundred miles. We reefed the main and then the genoa as we left Statia's wind shadow and found 25 knots of wind on the beam. The wind moved forward to 60 degrees apparent and an occasional wave sent salty spray into the cockpit to keep our attention.
A rain cloud passed over the anchorage as we prepared to leave Antigua. Behind us, Allegro was framed by a full rainbow. Discovery had already left and was positioned at the end of the rainbow. Barry and I had decided to leave the group and head off on our own but would meet up with them on the 15th in St. Martin to help celebrate Sharon's birthday. The others planned to anchor off St. Kitts on the way to St. Martin while we planned to visit Nevis where friends Hud and Lynne from Belle of Virginia had bought a home. They had participated in the 2005 Caribbean 1500.
After spending a rolly night in the anchorage at the Saintes, I went ashore the next morning to clear in with Customs, only to learn that the fax machine was broken, and I would have to go to the main island of Guadeloupe. I stocked up on baguettes and french cheese, fresh produce from a roadside stand, and a bottle of the local rum. On the way back to my kayak, I ran into Ed and Heidi from Shearwater, a catamaran that had been anchored near me in Dominica. We seem to be on similar cruising schedules
It's amazing how quickly time passes on a sailboat. After boarding Gaiamar on Friday night, we finally left the marina on Sunday afternoon with Gene kicking and screaming to stay attached to the internet so he could Skype. Once we got to our anchorage in Benure's Bay on Norman Island he was glad we left the marina. The snorkeling was great and it was much cooler with the breeze since the marina is so protected.
Joy For All arrived in the British Virgin Islands Monday morning a little after 8am, completing the 1300 nautical mile journey in six days, nineteen hours and seventeen minutes for an average speed of 7.7 knots. We used the engine when the wind was less than 10 knots, which only happened for about eight hours. This was the fastest Caribbean 1500 of the six Joy For All has participated in. At yesterday's award ceremony we learned that we placed third in our class.
The fleet of 60 boats is gathering in Hampton, VA for the November 2nd start of the 20th Caribbean 1500 rally. Joy For All is ready to go. After getting last-minute boat projects finished this morning we are now staying warm and dry while the weather has turned cold and wet outside. The forecast sounds pretty wet for the next two days, so we are taking advantage of being able to stay warm while we can. The cockpit enclosure helps, but I'll be donning long underwear for the start, and I don't intend to take it off until we've crossed the Gulf Stream.
Shanti has now successfully completed a solo challenge on four of the five Great Lakes. Next year I'm setting my sights on Lake Ontario to complete the set. Only two people, Wally McMinn on Odyssey and Dan Pavalat on Taz have completed a solo challenge on each of the five Great Lakes. I'm grateful for the opportunity to test myself and my boat, and feel proud to be a member of the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society.
I left Mentor Harbor just after sunset the other night for an overnight sail to Put-In-Bay. The wind was light at first, less than 10 knots, so I motor-sailed for two hours. At 2240 I turned the engine off, sailing close-hauled with a SW wind of 10 knots giving me 6.2 knots of boat speed. By midnight, the genoa was reefed, and by 0020 I had put a reef in the main as well for an apparent wind of 20 knots. The wind was clocking around to the west, and I was only able to sail within 25 degrees of my desired course.