Ships Log – 26th to 31st October 2008

Delivery Crew: Geoff Page
David Keith
Richard Stafford

Sunday 26th October

Christine and I are currently installed in Anam Cara waiting for our crew to join us. Three of us will then us taking the boat to the Canaries prior to the start of the ARC.

Before Christine left to go back home, the three of us went out for a super meal made wholly of assorted plated tapas, swallowed down with super white wine.

As both David & Richard had started at 4.30am in the morning, both went to be early, I on the other hand went out to an internet café to clear my e mails and then back to the boat where I stayed to watch a film until I also had had enough and got my head down.

Monday 27th October

After getting up at 7ish for a prompt departure from the quay I discovered the computer Martin spent hours setting up had for some reason de-faulted back to its old settings and after much wasted time we had to take to Geoff’s computer for things to work.

After some delicate reversing by the skipper Anam Cara came off the jetty with no problem though both the “other” boat owners looked on anxiously as it was such a tight fit.

Out of the harbour we looked but could not find the promised wind so donkey carried us on though at one point I have to say there was sufficient wind to get all three sails up and so long as we kept the engine running we made 5 knots!

Excitement around lunch time, we were slowly overhauled by another yacht that was running only on their engine.

By 4pm we had changed course for the umpteenth time, having put all sails away and just running on engine, we set the straightest course for Gibraltar. Sea state very calm, what a disappointment after all the forecasts and hype! So, we settled down to a meal of Geoff’s “Spag Bol” concoction a glass of wine and good chatter.

I took the first watch nothing much happened oh yes a cruise ship passed me! At midnight I was replaced by Richard and went to my bed, contented but frustrated with the lack of wind

Tuesday 28th October

I was back on watch again at 6.00am taking over from David and guess what there was wind! We were set fine moving around 6 knots and heading nicely towards Gibraltar although we did have the engine going as well.
Dawn came up around 7.30 and Richard came up at 8.00 to take over and all’s well and as a bonus, the next thing we are surrounded by Dolphins, they were al around us and under the boat but 10 mins later they were gone. At 8.00am our estimated time of arrival was 4 hrs later and distance around 20 nautical miles.

Trying to get some shut eye the noise coming from the helm prompted me to look at what was going on only to find the wind had increased, though still on the nose, so more sail adjustments were needed. By 10.00am David was also up on deck, by which time we had winds up to 33 knots, straight on the nose and a sea to match. We had as much sail as was safe and the engine full blast and we could only manage 2 knots.

After much battling of the elements and a rather uncomfortable passage we arrived in the marina at Gibraltar at 7.00pm only to be told to go away as they were full! We found a berth on a fuel jetty in the end so watch this space tomorrow morning! So this un- forecasted weather cost 11 extra hrs of travelling and additional fuel just to cover the 20 miles. Christine managed to get to Murcia airport, check in fly to Gatwick, retrieve her bags in the time it took us to cover these 20 miles!

Wednesday 29th October.

Woke up and waiting on the fuel pontoon for them to open which they did at around 8.00am. So we fuelled and watered up then asked if they had any influence with the Marina to get us in. After several telephone calls and an hours wait we were eventually invited to enter the Marina for two nights. After mooring up we went for a traditional English breakfast, very welcome.

The rest of the day was un-eventful other than buying up Morrison’s for the trips to Las Palmas and then on to St. Lucia. Did several boat jobs in preparation for the “Big Crossing” and met up with several other ARC Participants, dinner in the local pub then to bed as all were completely knackered!

Thursday 30th October

Nice bright morning in this Marina right next to the Gibraltar Airport Runway! The good news is there are few ‘planes and none during the hours of darkness. Back to Morrison’s again for the completion of provisions, anybody would think David (our food guru) was feeding an expedition to the Antarctic, lasting god knows how many months! Still he has put a lot of effort into it and thought of every eventuality including increasing the stock of sauce pans on Anam Cara!

We have been trying to decide the best time to leave for Las Palmas, consulting locals, Sunday seems the right time, and unfortunately if we go then David and Richard will miss their planes back to the UK. Tonight and tomorrow morning says there will be gales in this area (hence the Sunday departure of most of the other ARC participants) but we think there is a suitable window tomorrow about mid day. Watch this space I say.

Had terrible problems today with computer, couldn’t get onto the Internet and therefore no weather updates, anyway sorted eventually.

As I am writing this log I am listening to the winds getting up, howling in the rigging and glad to be secure here in a berth overnight

Friday 31st October.

Weather no better, cold, wind, rain; in fact rather foul so have been forced to stop over much to the disgust of David and to a point Richard. Unfortunately they have a time constraint; they are both booked to fly out of Las Palmas Sunday. We busied ourselves about securing down several things including bringing the dingy aboard and placing the outboard into one of the rear lazarettos

Much discussion had taken place during the previous day as when to go and the route to take. There were 5 other boats going to the arc and had been advised that the very earliest window to leave Gibraltar would be Sunday. This advice was being freely given by Colin Thomas the author of the annual “The Straits Sailing Handbook” something no seafarer should be without whilst sailing around the straights. It gives tides, currents, and a whole lot of good advice.

Secondly we were advised to follow the Spanish coast to a line well past the traffic separation zone.

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