Gran Canaria to St. Lucia Arc 2011

By Art on (with 0 comments)


Distance (nm)
Average (kts)

We're entering the final week before we leave on our Trans-Atlantic passage from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. The yacht is ready and so is the crew so this last week will be spent completing our provisioning and welcoming our last two crew members, Gustavo and Roland as they join us. Of course, the final week will have the evening get-togethers with other yacht owners and crew as well as attending some safety and weather briefings. Keep coming back to this passage page to check on our progress as we will be updating this website via satellite while we are en-route.

Our position will also be updated every four hours on the ARC Website Fleet Viewer (sorry if you are an iPad/iPhone user as flash is not supported and they want you to purchase an application to view using these devices) where you can see our progress related to the other yachts in the ARC.

Passage Position

Log Entries

by Art, 05:00 Local

Champagne at the finish line Feelin' Good has crossed the finish line in St. Lucia after 15 days, 15 hours and traveling 2847 nm. She took care of her crew in style and grace and we lived like kings compared to others in the Rally. I'm so proud of team! We had the best crew of any yacht in the ARC and worked well together on the passage over the Atlantic. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate all of you at home following our journey and sending encouragement along the way. We couldn't have accomplished this without you cheering us on.

Now we celebrate with some nice champagne and toast our Atlantic passage. Then, we sleep like zombies!

The crew of the S/Y Feelin' Good signing off in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.


by Art, 18:00 UTC

Gennaker flying proudly with Ticino colors Got some nice wind right after I wrote that last post and we've enjoyed sailing with the gennaker up most of the day. Very special to see it flying on a fantastic tropical day! It also has allowed us to sail direct to our destination as the wind as forecast to be behind us as trade winds but is in fact in front of us so we can be close hauled.

We've spent the afternoon drying out gear and sails and packing them away knowing it will be cooler to do it on the boat in the breeze than sitting in a marina. We've been checking out the air conditioning and find it doesn't work as the seawater pump is not turning on. Sigh, sounds like another issue to solve when we get to the marina. Our time zone on the yacht is still UTC so once we arrive we will have to readjust to the local Atlantic time zone.

Sean just 'had' to go up the mast to take some photos and FG looks terrific with the indigo blue water all around. He also got some video footage that, along with all our other footage taken en-route, will be edited into a nice memento of the passage for all of us.

Next post should be about our arrival in St. Lucia. Stay tuned!

by Art, 12:00 UTC

Dead, flat, calm, hot, sea Dead, flat, calm seas. After the fury of the storms and squalls the past number of days, we have arrived at a point 150 nm away from St. Lucia in what looks like the world's biggest bath tub. It's almost flat sea, water temperature of 28.8, clear skies and a very hot tropical sun. It's like we've been transported to another world. Perhaps some invisible line we crossed that separated the Atlantic from the Caribbean. Regardless, it's nice! It would be a lot better with some wind. That is the only thing missing from an otherwise perfect day. We have 15 hours left to go until we cross the finish line in St. Lucia. That will place us there at 23:30 St. Lucia time, 04:30 Europe time or 22:30 US PST. We have the beer cooling along with a nice champagne.

It's been a wonderful passage filled with amazing events and special people. It feels sad to be at the point of completing this journey as we've all thoroughly enjoyed it so much and in some ways wish it wouldn't end. In the meantime, we'll relax today and enjoy the final leg into St. Lucia. We'll be on the lookout to spot land after so many weeks at sea, but at night it'll be more difficult so we'll have to look for the lights on the island as we get closer.

by Art, 15:00 UTC

Staying ahead of the storms Sorry for the lack of update this morning, we've been busy since last night with almost constant squalls and rainstorms. During these events, the wind drops off to nothing and we had spent more time than we wanted motoring along. We see other boats doing the same so we don't feel too bad. Motoring is allowed in this event and a formulae is applied to take it into account for our final score. We are in the Cruising Division, not the Racing Division so we are treating this like a normal (albeit long) passage. We hope to get back to sailing as soon as the winds come back up. The Trade winds are being disturbed by the storms and it's possible they might not re-develop for a few more days. By that time, we'll be in St. Lucia.

It's gotten really hot here with daytime temps at 31 and the ocean temperature at 28.5. can't wait to jump in for a swim and relax. Two weeks of hard work sailing and we are looking forward to some fun!

by Art, 13:00 UTC

Ready to start ARC 2011 "The Night of the Killer Storms", naw.. just a lot of wind and rain. Everything was going really nicely last night. Sean handed off to me at 03:00 and I handed off to Gustavo at 06:00. Both of our watches were fantastic, rocketing along at 9-10 kts continuously for hours straight toward St. Lucia. I went to bed at 06:00 (remember this is UTC so local time was 02:00) and Gustavo woke me at 07:30 saying some big storms were bearing down on us from behind. They would pop up on the radar as a 'blob' with yellow and red coming at us at 30 kts. Usually we have 10 minutes of so to get the boat in order before it hits but Gustavo's storm came at us at 60 kts.

I got up and helped him reef all the sails in then Sean got up and helped us get it all right ;-). From then on, squall after squall have been hitting us all morning and it looks to be this way the rest of the way to St. Lucia.

We continued to dodge squalls most of the day then got in a number of hours of really wonderful sailing with high groundspeed. Now, with night time approaching, the storms are building again. Looks to be another interesting (and sleepless!) night ahead. In the meantime, we are having a wonderful Indian Maharaja Curry with chunks of Lamb. I read about a boat I trained on last year, the Kantara, a 40 foot Dufours. They are not even to the half-way point and have more than a week to go yet to arrive. I also think about the living conditions on-board and it makes me really appreciate this magnificent HR!

by Art, 13:00 UTC

Big winds and sea states sometimes bring not only great speed but problems too. For the past several days, the trade winds have been building in to a steady 20+ kts. This, of course, raises the sea state as well and we have had 2-2.5m swells. Combine that with a squall coming through in the night and it gets interesting.

While we read about big issues on some of the other yachts in the ARC like broken booms, life raft and safety equipment swept overboard, putting up with 40C temperatures in the crew quarters, etc. We have been lucky to have only had a sheet get cut on a block for the gennaker. That is until last night. We awoke at midnight to a sharp crack and boom as the D-ring on one of our reacher poles snapped off taking both down-haul ropes (guys) with it. Not a major tragedy and certainly easy to fix once in St. Lucia but it did mean all hands on deck at night putting it all back together. This morning, FG is trucking along nicely with her 'wounded' reacher pole but still moving along at at 8.5-9 kts. She's a real trooper and so is her crew. Way to go guys!

Several squalls came through and we reefed everything down good and had no problems. Lots of rain and winds to 32 kts but FG just kept chugging along. Now we are in-between squalls and making up for some lost time. Our speed over ground is mostly above 10 kts now. Sweet!

by Art, 11:00 UTC

Sean working hard to keep FG Lookin' Good too We had really nice wind last night and have been ticking off the miles. Over the last 24 hours we did a little over 200nm, very respectable! The yacht is getting that 'lived in' look to it so today we are cleaning it up starting with Sean washing the deck off with fresh water and soap (yes, we have such a large water supply and terrific water maker that we can afford to splurge and wash the deck). Then we'll do some laundry (taking our cloths into the shower with us rather than using the washing machine) and vacuum off the floors, etc. We, of course, keep the galley clean all the time as well as the heads.

For those who are interested, our fresh produce (lettuce, tomatoes, vegetables, etc.) have all done extremely well. It's our 11th day at sea and everything is still good for a few more days. I'll get an article written about how we've accomplished this later. Our fresh frozen meats have been wonderful as well. We take a pack out every day and 'create' something special for dinner each night. Usually, we have some kind of pasta for lunch as it's quick and easy. Meal time on FG is something to look forward to!

by Art, 19:00 UTC

A very good day of sailing with excellent forward progress. We are now only 1000nm from St. Lucia and have 1800nm behind us. No other yachts, no critters today just beautiful skies and indigo water all around. We had a few rain squalls come thru but no big deal just a little wet for a bit and increased winds. There is another late season tropical 'thingie' developing in front of us but we are a number of days away from it and the forecast is for it to form and head north before we get there. Sean is making Spanish Rice for dinner (we had my World Famous Bolognese Ragu for lunch). I had a beer 'cause it's my birthday today!

by Art, 11:00 UTC

FG sporting her colors Nice winds all night long making up for some of the days when the winds were lighter. At times we had 10.5 kts over the ground. Sweet! A few more yachts came into view on our AIS, Eleanda (HR-62) and Lone Star (Amel 54). Kinda fun to 'dance' with them for a few hours. All you can see is their sailing light at the top of their mast and their AIS signature on the chart plotter. It's very special to be roaring along at 10kts in the blackness with the whitecaps of the waves just a few feet from you in the cockpit.

by Art, 20:15 UTC

Had a pair of Long Finned Pilot Whales (6 meter) visit us and roll around the boat for a while. One showed his/her very while belly to us. Very cool! As it is almost dark, we couldn't get any photos but the experience was fantastic! Still making good progress, more wind coming tomorrow. Sean's World Famous Fried Rice for dinner tonight.

by Art, 11:30 UTC

FG sporting her colors The winds are still moving us nicely and at times we are clicking along at up to 8.5 kts. The days are definitely getting geting hotter and the sun feels much warmer as we get closer to the equator. We've got to limit our exposure to the direct sun and drink plenty of fluids. So far, no one has been seasick and all are in good health. Last night Sean had dolphins visit him during night watch moving though the bioluminescent water alongside the yacht. Wish we all coud have seen that! My sweet Tracy has her birthday today and it's the first one I've missed since we met. Happy Birthday Honey!

by Art, 20:00 UTC

FG sporting her colors Yeah! The winds finally begin to pick up and we have sustained 18-20 kts. We are going at about 8.2 kts over the ground and it seems now we will make it to St. Lucia before the end of the year! Seriously, it's amazing what a little more wind means to shorten the time to finish our passage. It's empty out here, no other yachts for miles and miles. Just a clear horizon for as far as you can see. Another relaxing day followed by a reconfiguration of our sailplan as the winds came up. We are now running with the butterfly headsail for the night as it's easy to furl in if a squall comes up. During the day we had the gennaker up for quite a while followed by a stint with the main and genoa poled out as a farfalle to give us a little more sail area than the butterfly by itself. We've fallen back a bit in our position but still running a respectable 23rd in the fleet of 240 yachts. We've just passed the half-way point (celebrated with some nice champagne of course!) and there is plenty of time to remain competitive.

by Art, 10:00 UTC

Another spectacular day on the Atlantic! We are nearing our halfway point and everything is wonderful. Food, crew morale, health, etc. The only thing else we would like is some more wind (a reoccurring theme to these notes!). The temptation to motor a bit is there but if we do, we might use now what we really need later on. Likewise, we need to keep the fuel for charging the batteries and making water. So we accept the speeds we are getting and know that everyone out here is in the same situation. We've been getting a lot of reading and relaxing done in the shade of the hardtop or under the headsails.

by Art, 18:00 UTC

JAPDIP (just another perfect day in paradise) except for the low winds! Forecast is for the winds to start to build again now that a low has passed over the top of us to the north. We hope so as it's been nice out here but we wish for more speed in the crossing. Overnight they should build up to 15-20 kts. If so, our speed will build up to 8.5 and shorten our transit to St. Lucia. The guys caught a few more dorado today but we have so much food on board we've been letting them go. One night we'll keep one for dinner. No tuna yet, we keep hoping.

by Art, 11:00 UTC

Another nice meal buy Sean Steady progress but still waiting for the winds to develop a bit more. We have been averaging 7.5 kts overall and there are times we are over 9 kts. What we need are winds in excess of 25 kts for a while. The good news is that everyone else is dealing with the same winds so we are all a little slower than we'd like to be. Over night we saw a few yachts on the radar apparently with their AIS (automatic identification system) off. Perhaps they think if someone can see them, they can gleam some secrets? Got me. Seems stupid to compromise safety in not letting someone know where your are just for some perceived competitive edge. Ours is on all the time and we are in 11th place overall today so go figure. Flying fish skimming the waves all around us. Wish us luck to see some more dolphins today, yesterday they came to visit and one jumped clear out of the water before racing under the bow. Fishing lures deployed in the hopes of some tuna.

by Art, 18:00 UTC

We've been pleased with our progress so far and today turned the corner at our southernmost point and are now heading directly to St. Lucia. It appears our strategy is paying off as we are first in our division and 12th overall in the race. Of course the position will change over time as more yachts near the finish line but that's over 1900 nm away and a lot can happen between now and then. We are all relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed this time offshore. The open Atlantic is one of the last true wildernesses left and it's a privilege to be out here. Contrary to what you may read, the water is clear indigo blue and the air is the freshest you'll ever smell. Invigorating!

by Art, 18:00 UTC

Gustavo enjoying his watch Overnight the wind shifted a bit toward the east and the swells got bigger. We think we are nearing the top edge of the trade wind zone. We'll check weather in a while and download the latest data to analyze and see if we should change course to the west more. We popped some bread in the oven to bake and enjoyed a couple of fresh loaves with jam and peanut butter. Out coffee press took a hit yesterday and broke so we are working on tea and espresso (oh, how we suffer out here!). We found out our iPhone can take us to a specific longitude and latitude so we programmed in St. Lucia just in case our fancy yacht electronics goes out. Don't want to miss our date with umbrella drinks!

by Art, 18:00 UTC

Just a pleasant afternoon on-board relaxing and listening to the wind and waves. A few other yachts showed up and crossed paths with us then we are on our own again. Life on FG is so tranquil and safe even though we are far from land there are no worries. She's a very solid blue water cruiser. I'm off to make Asian Stir Fry for dinner.

by Art, 11:15 UTC

Wonderful sunsets out here We enjoyed a wonderful sail last night so no need to motor (yeah!). The moon was shimmering on the water and the air is clean and wonderful! We appear to be making solid progress (apparently we were 18th as of yesterday, not sure about today) and our strategy remains to continue heading southwest making progress toward St. Lucia while still making our way south to catch up with the trade winds and current that runs at about 0.9 kts. We do have nice 18-20 kts of wind right on the stern so we're clipping along at 7.5-8.5 kts. Sean made Breakfast Burritos and we're just enjoying being 300nm from land. No other boats around at all.

by Art, 14:00 UTC

OK, Roland caught the first fish... a nice dorado. But having done the 03:00 to 06:00 shift I was sleeping so I probably would have caught a larger fish had I been awake ;-) Congratulations Roland! We really have no good idea of were we are in the standings as all but 3-4 other yachts are within range of us. The good news is they appear to be the much faster racing yachts so I think we are doing well but wait to hear from the ARC who is leading at the moment. We have beautiful weather (clear), nice sea state (1.5m) and nice winds but want more of course!

by Art, 14:00 UTC

Well, we had a terrific starting position when the gun went off and headed out with the first third of the fleet. Lot's of boats, horns and fanfare as we sailed down the east side of Isla de Gran Canaria. It was nice to see so many yachts behind us! We had our new butterfly sail up but were using it as a genoa and it allowed us a good speed as we raced down the island. After rounding the south side of the island, all the boats seemed to go in different directions following their plan for winning the race to St. Lucia

by Art, 10:00 UTC, Race Day!

Ready to start ARC 2011 For the past few weeks, Feelin' Good looked like a Las Palmas 'party girl'. All decked out in flags, ropes nicely tied up and looking pretty, her stainless glittering in the sunlight. Things are different today. all her ropes are in position for work, her sheets ready to deploy our 'secret' butterfly headsail, snatch blocks attached to the right places, safety lines in place and all the festive flags down. Our 'party girl' has taken off the gloves and revealed herself to be the real Swiss Heidi, a tough battle-ready hunter ready to take on the ARC fleet. We cross the starting line in three hours.

by Art, 20:00 UTC

We're enjoying a nice dinner at our favorite local restaurant, Embarcadero and will go to bed early tonight to get good rest for the start tomorrow. We're anxious to get out to sea as soon as we can. Feelin' Good has sat around too long as it is, we need some wind and think we will get it tomorrow as the forecast is for 15-20 kts in the afternoon. Yeah!

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