Day one

ARC Europe start

We had a clean start off Nanny Cay with the 40 ARC yachts heading west on a broad reach to clear the islands. Of the ARC fleet, there were different rallies sharing the same start, some were heading straight to Florida, most going to Bermuda but with some of those heading on up to Virginia. The giant Apsaras from Hong Kong carved through the fleet and was gone. At 23 metres she is far and away the largest yacht in the rally and she must have been too big for the Marina as I hadn’t noticed her in Nanny Cay.

Gybing around the end of Great Thatch Island the wind which had been up to 28 knots between the islands dropped to next to nothing in the lee and we ran the engine for 3 minutes to clear the wind shadow. Passing to the west of Jost Van Dyke, we enjoyed an excellent beam reach in a steady F4 until just before midnight when the wind dropped away. The forecast is for the wind to completely disappear in a few days’ time and inevitably result in motoring in towards the end of the week so, with plenty of diesel on board and Ollie to meet, there was no debate and we started the engine. With an economical engine speed of 1900 revs we picked our pace up to just over 5 knots. Perversely, there were faster yachts hanging onto the remnants of the wind and doing less than 3 knots which given the complete absence of wind later on seemed to be just delaying the inevitable. The finishing line closes on Saturday evening so they will need to pick up their pace somehow before then.

Our evening meal was the first of the recently discovered ‘boil in the bag’ lamb shank meals from Costco. These don’t need to be refrigerated and heat up in 25 minutes, an ideal staple to have on board. With tins of potatoes, peas and carrots, served in bowls, it proved to be a winner. Ollie may be shopping at Costco before he leaves!

It was disconcerting to find that a yacht quite close alongside not only was not transmitting an AIS signal but also not showing any lights and we concluded that they must be experiencing some electrical problems. We tracked them on radar while we also monitored the rain clouds surrounding us.

At 0430, the ‘purple menace’ showing on the radar caught up with us and we suffered a downpour necessitating a precautionary hatch check, inevitably the hatch over my bed was open for ventilation so, more soggy bedding. Dawn at 0530 saw an improvement and by 0600, the engine was off and although still very cloudy there was at least the prospect of a good sail.


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