22 Oct 2012

[Captains Blog] Back in Blighty

Back on solid ground, things are very unsettled for us. I think we are a bit 'all at sea' if you will pardon the pun. We don't seem to be able to focus on anything, and are really only killing time before getting back on board. Debra forgets that she should be very proud of herself (as I am of her) for achieving what she has so far - she has done a longer passage than necessary to qualify her for Ocean Yachtmaster assessment but seems to overlook that. Crewmembers are getting butterflies, understandably. We only have 5 weeks to go, and it is suddenly all very real.

Do I believe that there is any danger associated with the trip? Honestly, No.

Jay Jay has been kitted out with all the safety equipment needed to make this a very safe trip. She is a robust solid boat more than capable of handling herself well, and I have no doubts about her. Crew wise, we are well provided with experienced sailors. Provisioning has been done thoroughly, and with the exception of fresh produce and extra water, we are ready to go. My only focus is on getting all 4 crew safe and happy to our destination(s). If I achieve that, I will have done my job.

Jay Jay sits in the marina at Las Palmas, being watched over by other ARC members, and we will treat her to a good fettling (cleaning) before we depart the marina for the starting gate and gun that will be fired at 13:00 on 25th November to markthe start of the crossing. We will be one of the boats under the gaze of thousands of spectators who apparently crowd the coastline to wave the participants off, at least two of whom will be focusing on us.

Which route will we take?

We will leave Las Palmas which is on the north-east side of Gran Canaria, and head south down the east of the island until we claer the land, then it should be south-west using the Canaries current and hopefully the prevailing winds until 'the butter melts' and we are at about 20 degrees north. From there, we should be well into the trade wind belt, where we can head due west and aim for St Lucia. The crossing is about 2800 nautical miles and should take us approximately 18-20 days.