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arc rally cruisers gran canaria st lucia logoFrom Madeira to the Canaries

Another update as we approach the starting point for the ARC Rally for Cruisers in Gran Canaria. If you missed it, here is our first installment of taking possession of Z3, christening, and her maiden voyage

Thanks to all who have been following our journey. If you are just discovering our adventure, get in on the action now:

We continue to fight the typical messy, cold, and gusty winter weather of the Mediterranean, but we have certainly had many warm times hiding in port and meeting sailors from all over including bumping into old sailing friends. 

Loving Funchal, Madeira 

If you are unfamilar with the Madeira islands of Portugal, the four islands are located off the west coast of Africa, about 700 miles to the southwest of Gibraltar where we left the Mediterranean entering the Atlantic Ocean. A quick sail from the island of Porto Santo put us in Funchal, Madeira, the largest of the volcanic islands. Despite its Portuguese governance, Madeira has its own distinct culture. 

Home of the famed Madeira wines, our crew made short work of finding the best spots to taste the large variety of flavors. Madeira wine is fortified with distilled spirits, usually brandy. The broad palates of roasted nuts to caramel are created by re-heating the wine multiple times. In addition to enjoying the wine, the food was fantastic. The black scabbard that was in abundance in the catches in the harbor, despite looking like eel, were very light and delicious. Unlike many islands, the variety of fruits and vegetables was amazing. The banana plantations terraced into the hillsides were amazing...and delicious! The tropical weather and volcanic soil definitely agrees with agriculture here. 

Madeiran residents enchant visitors with their painted doors. Each one is unique, some quite detailed. It was fun to explore the nooks and crannies of the islands in search of the next painted door. There was a lot to see from exquisite architecture in the old town to colorful markets. 

We thoroughly enjoyed the balmy days of our stay in Funchal as we awaited a break in the weather to head to Lanzarote in the Canaries. We used the time in between sightseeing to continue preparations for the ARC Rally race.

Click to enlarge photos.

Arriving Canaries, Starting Point for ARC Rally 

Captain Stephen determined the time was right to set out for the Canaries on November 13th. Though we knew we faced the tempestuous seas typical this time of year, we were all looking forward to an uneventful sail to Las Palmas. But, alas, is any sail ever uneventful? LOL!

We cruised along at about 9-10 knots, when about halfway to our destination, the screecher came down!

Z3 and crew were winning against the less than perfect conditions. We heard a loud pop and watched our sail topple over the bow into the ocean. Without panic, the crew immediately performed a crash stop and put the boat into irons.

Once stabilized, we retrieved the sail, all the lines, and halyard and secured it in the forward cockpit.

Grateful that the sails did not get hung up under the hull, the crew inspected the gear to find that the shackle on the halyard broke loose and destroyed the block at the head of the sail. 

The boat and crew were all good, so we set out again, but not having the screecher slowed us down to about 8 knots.

Arriving in Las Palmas, we celebrated with a glass of champagne, then set about to continue readying for the ARC Rally inspections and official opening party for the World Cruising Club's ARC Rally that evening.

 

Click to enlarge photos.

The ARC Rally Begins!

Days before the race itself begins, there are a myriad of ARC Rally festivities to celebrate the exciting event as well as serious inspections, seminars, and training. 

Skippers rushed about to their YB Trackers, GPS units that enable friends and family to follow the boats on the ARC Fleet Viewer and via the YB Races app. We continued protecting chafing points and inspecting gear as well as installing a hydro-generator for another source of renewable power for the crossing. In addition to readying the boat, we provisioned the galley for what seemed like enough food to feed an army. We may get tired, but we will NOT be hungry! ARC officials inspected each vessel and Z3 and crew passed! 

Amid all the hubbub, we admired some of the really big catamarans in the marina and even had a visit from our Princess Chloe friends thought they were just passing through. 

Punctuating the start of the Rally was the opening ceremony on November 17th. It was a massive Conga line led by Banda Gran Canarias beating out a salsa rhythm as the throngs of sailors and sailing enthusiasts paraded wielding flags from 35 countries. The event confirmed what we sailors know that though there are many languages, cultures, and political views, when it comes to sailing, we are one community internationally. 

Dignitaries from the Canaries, Saint Lucia, and elsewhere celebrated with us and spoke words of encouragement and well-wishing for the sailors and their vessels. From the opening ceremony, we knew we had 1 week to finalize preparations for the start of the race on November 24th. 

Click to enlarge photos.

Next Up...

Check out our take on the ARC Rally race start including lots of photos.

As we head to the Caribbean later this week, we want to encourage you to see if our paths cross, if so, let's get together! See our ARC Rally meetup schedule.

Thinking of buying a new yacht, maybe to sail the ARC Rally for Cruising Catamarans next year? Our concierge boat-buying and ownership program consulting service gives you all the information you need to lower risks and maximize potential in charter yacht programs. We can also educate you and your family about the realities of living aboard and how to set up your yacht business to offset ownership costs.  

Contact Us Call 1-804-815-5054

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