So we’ve finally set off on the grand adventure. For this leg and and the next we have Tim & Jane aboard to help.
The race start went well. Without trying too hard (too risky to challenge hard when you’re in your home!) we were third over the line, but boats 1 & 2 were judged to be over the line at the start so we were officially the first boat across.
After an hour or so, as the boats started to spread out, we took some time to rig the pole and set the sails for the 800 nm of downwind port tack sailing ahead. With that done, we were able to pretty much stay on the rhumb line (direct) for Santa Marta. We did have to gybe to starboard a couple of times but we simply furled the main and sailed on just the genoa until we could gybe back and put the main out again.
The only fly in the ointment was that Jane was poorly for most of the passage. A cold turned chesty then coughy then ear-achey. We called our medical support service and they recommended antibiotics, which we have onboard. She’s now on the mend.
Overall it was a very pleasant passage. No big seas, no bad squalls, winds below 25 kt most of the time, and we had success fishing!
The first fish that took the hook took the whole line and lure as well. Rerigged, the next one just took the lure. Third time lucky – a Mahi Mahi took the bait and Tim and Karen reeled it in. The fish was a beautiful yellow-green colour and it’s now in the freezer ready for our next meal onboard.
We are now in Santa Marta, Colombia, and can’t quite believe we’ve sailed our boat from France to South America! It just doesn’t seem real.
Next are a few days’ R&R and boat maintenance, then World ARC 2023 Leg 2: Santa Marta to the San Blas Islands.
After a couple of weeks fixing things and winding down after the Atlantic crossing, we left Grenada and started to make our way north towards St Lucia.
Our first stop was Tyrell Bay, on the island of Carriacou, followed by Clifton Bay on Union Island.
Once we’d negotiated the reefs and found a mooring buoy, we went ashore to “clear in” which is sailing-speak for Customs & Immigration. A local recommended a sunset cocktail on a tiny island (20 metres across!) in the bay so off we went. Wonderful!
From there we anchored in Saline Bay, Mayreau Island, Charlestown Bay, Canouan, then past Mustique and Bequia to St Vincent. We were cautious about St Vincent as there are many online reports of burglaries, but we stumbled upon Keartons Bay, just south of Wallilabou Bay. We were helped to a mooring buoy (only room for four or five boats) and ashore we met Rosie and Orlando who made us welcome and cooked a wonderful meal at their Rockside Café. We were the only guests!
We arrived in Rodney Bay Marina on the 22nd of December, but decided to take a break from the boat over Christmas and checked into the local Hilton for three nights. It was weird spending Christmas Day by the swimming pool…
Then it was back to work and a short trip to Martinique to get the backstay tensioner repaired and serviced. There must be 3-4,000 boats in Le Marin Bay, certainly the centre of yachting in the Caribbean. And because it’s really France, we hired a car and did massive shopping at Carrefour and Decathlon!
Finally, I’ve googled the national flags of the countries we’ll be visiting in 2023 and prepared their courtesy flags. Happy New Year!