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November 20th 2010
Published: November 20th 2010
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Ready to go!
So we’re now readying ourselves for departure tomorrow, when we'll set sail with over 230 other boats, into the sunset for our destination of St Lucia. We’ve spent the last 2 weeks here in Gran Canaria doing last minute preparations, not quite the relaxing gearing that we thought. Our two extra crew Mark Goodhand and Mark Meadows have just arrived, and we’re about ready to go.

Blogging hsn't been as easy as we'd thought - poor wifi connections can be terribly frustrating and when you can get it to work, there's a huge list of things to do and the blog falls down the list. We hope this will change in the Caribbean, but forgive us if it doesn't. We’ve had several teams come and join us since Oporto. Mark, Ellie and Thomas, Shelley and Mo sailed with us from Oporto to Lisbon, and Fay, Matt and Pete Shaw joined us from Madeira to Tenerife. While we were in the Canaries Peter Deeley, Wendy, Dave Shepherd and Fran joined us for a week, as did my brother Charles, his wife Alison, and daughter Elena.

We also had an excellent passage just the two of us from Lisbon to Porto Santo (Madeira) with the gennaker flying in the light winds. It’s been delightful, but inevitably not all plain sailing. We tore our main sail in a force 7 approaching Lisbon, but managed to get it repaired at a reasonable price by a sailmaker who had trained in Lymington. We also lost our engine while approaching the small island of La Gomera in the Canaries. We managed to sail onto an alongside berth without incident, but then needed to remove the fuel tank to clear out the organic “diesel bug” that had been growing in it!

Beyond the sailing we managed to squeeze in an intensive Spanish course, but have yet to really feel the benefit of it.

Best wishes to everyone. All our nearest and dearest are missed by us! We’ll be back in touch soon and will try to send updates to the ARC blog whilst we're underway:

John and Laura xx


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