This 2020 arrived very early, or rather “twenty twenty” as they say to St. Lucia with an English not learned in Cambridge.
Ariel welcomed us smiling as usual, apparently pampered by the care of Alby, our man to do everything at the marina, to whom we had entrusted some tasks, in fact not completed at all.
The islanders of St. Lucia are divided into 3 categories: those who work (working men), those who walk (walking men), who move to bring objects or to commission works for the former; and those who talk (talking men) who do nothing. Alby is in this category.
In the end, however, Alby involved those who work and with style far superior to the well-known Maremma and two days before departure we saw the work completed, fixed anti-UVA cover of the tender, sail control (gennaker), repair of the teak chair, the one that saved dr. Come to me, and I must say returned as new, a true master carpenter; as well as a master of steel, the “Chinese”, on the island for over 20 years who has made a repair of the bow roller equal to the shipyard, and finally cleaning the hull and checking the battery park.
This time Cecilia also came for the journey of her life, despite the imminent mourning that would hit her shortly thereafter; In fact, our mother Lidia left us a few days ago for her journey: a prayer and an everlasting affectionate memory for her.
With us Luisa and Guido who had already accompanied us on a route from Gibraltar to the Canary Islands.
This island in addition to rum and important traffic, has an infamous climate and a consequent (it rains 3/4 times a day) crazy vegetation. The sometimes violent rain makes the air particularly clear, so when the sun shines shortly after, everything acquires a shiny light that lights up the colors, all the shades of green, the blue of the sky, the white of the clouds and the red, the yellow and turquoise that dominate in the paintings of the wooden houses.
The days do not pass at the slow pace of the Caribbean, but they fly taken by our and Ariel’s preparation for the next stages. To tell the truth we would also be ready, but we realize that the daily seminars on what will come after St. Lucia up to Australia, are essential to provide us with study material, but above all for the timing of the stages, with arrival dates and departure, with updates to what we knew. It is a complicated organization, but well managed by the ARC yellow jersey operators.
We pass the safety check test on board with honors, and we also participate in the convivial events, which have the spirit of amalgamating the crews of the 34 boats that today 11 January at 12 have taken to the sea. Some were already present with us in the ARC Plus, others have been added, like SAORSA, the same as ours and almost the same age, the only difference being the origin, from Wellington in New Zealand and with an all-female crew, 4 very nice ladies / ine, who have not fear of nothing, accustomed to the harsh climate of the land of the Kiwis, and who join this rally to return home; then there are the Norwegian snobs of the newly unpacked Rassy64 SANA (which we have already beaten by the way), and the friend Giorgio di Jan, the Sardinian-American surgeon, who in the Cagliari dialect tells me “how do you say preventer in Italy?” “Withholding,I say “, and he” damn it is true, the rittenutta … “, nice but in small doses.
And so a week has flown by, as we add culture to our ocean seamen baggage, learning a few more tricks for using the sextant at the course held by skipper / meteorologist Chris Tibb (3 rounds the world and 27 transoceanic); I invited him on board and he taught me to download the synoptic maps of the whole planet on the PC through the SSB radio, as well as to face the future of digital navigation, or the SAT nav, in order to be able to safely access places on the planet where the cartography is scarce, not recent and not updated; there are places in the Pacific with maps from the 1800s. Today satellite technology comes to our aid, providing the opportunity to move and prepare your trip by downloading the sat cartography on a pc,which then can interface with our GPS and guide us in greater safety especially among the reefs of the southern islands where we will go in the coming months.
Saturday 11 January at 12 am the start of the 10th edition of WORLD ARC, the circumnavigation of the globe by sailboat. At the farewell evening of the Authorities and the President of the ARC Mr. Andrew Bishop, the Minister of Tourism of St. Lucia was present, starting and ending point of this tour.
We go out to sea at 11, with a sustained wind from the north east, and we study the starting field of the regatta / rally to get into the top 6 alongside the New Zealanders at the shot and at the first buoy that shows us where to jibe (change board with wind downwind) we pass absolute fifths; a good start always has a certain effect. Now we run with fresh wind at 27 knots, with one hand on the mainsail and genoa tangonato, en route to Colombia.
This first section is about 820 miles, with a bad reputation because there are wind accelerations approaching the Colombian coasts which, together with the fact that towards the coast the seabed drops, creates a very uncomfortable and breaking vertical sea. We lower our latitude and we will arrive within that area called the Doldrums, or equatorial calm, which if at sea bring calm and storms, on land only storms, or a constant low pressure in the north of Colombia which is responsible for the violent accelerations of winds in the last 200 miles we will have to travel. Now we fly at 8.5 knots, with a full moon, a silver sea at the stern with a slightly agitated ocean master that shakes Ariel’s ass who, however, silently and happily wags his tail to the west.
See you tomorrow from Ariel’s team