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Homepage Slider Sailing and Travel — 03 November 2013

The crew has been in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria now for 3 weeks already. The time really is whizzing by at a lightening speed.


Can you spot the upside down flag?

With the rally now just 21 days away there’s tons to get ready. A mighty list was split between the crew with schooling and general day-to-day stuff thrown into the mix.

I volunteered to take on the safety checklist which means grouping together and checking all the equipment needed for the crossing. One mega job was sorting out the Grab Bag – a bag that you grab should you have to leave the boat in an emergency. There’s a whole list of stuff it needs including obvious ones like water and food, location devices like EPIRB, hand held radios, GPS, signalling mirrors and foil blankets to keep you warm.

It’s absolutely necessary to have all these things in one  place but getting them * and then keeping them pinned down to one place is a challenge. Nearer ‘the off’ an ARC official will come aboard and check through all our stuff. It’s a bit like sitting an exam!

As you can imagine there’s plenty of other safety equipment to get ready. I’ve got more familiar with our Zodiac liferaft, have unpacked, repacked (and then again a few more times just to make doubly sure) our six lifejackets. Reflective tape attached, whistles and lights (not bells) blown and new CO2 cannisters fitted.

I’m also taking on the provisioning of the boat for the 20 or so days at sea. As a newcomer to this type of thing it’s always reassuring to get some advice from other sailors and your Mother-in-Law! The main resources everyone refers to are The Boat Galley Cookbook and The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew by Lin & Larry Pardey both of which are now happily nestled in my Kindle. The one nobody else refers to is my Mother-in-Law  Glynis (only because they don’t know her), who, with Mike, flew across multiple time zones to see us and present us with a seed sprouter, seeds and a black pop sock and ensure we have fresh, crunchy salad throughout the journey! She also had some very practical advice when it came to our fridge and a modest estimate of the number of carrier bags any sane human could possibly need.

I don’t see having the basic provisions for 3 weeks a problem for us  - goodness knows we already have enough in our cupboards and our under-seat storage to feed passengers of a cruise liner. The challenge is getting the mix right and not eating crackers for 20 days. Ideally we would like fresh produce and it’s the keeping and storing of these delicate goods where the experts’ advice is worth its weight in gold. Both books have great suggestions on the cleaning, stowing and life span of fruit and veg as well as suggestions on how to pack your freezer and fridge and general food shopping.

Hands on: Alex and Dad fitting the  new wind generator

Needless to say Alex and Keith have both been really busy and getting their hands mucky and Alex’s Dad also got stuck in with servicing the winches and other mucky chores.

As well as the long list of stuff on his list Alex also had to replace all the boat batteries. Ouch! For good measure whilst he was at it he replaced our wind generator. The new model is more efficient and doesn’t sound like a Boeing 747 taking off.

As I said, Alex’s parents came to visit us which meant as well as boat jobs (for both of them) we got to see lots of local tourist attractions. In my next post I’ll write about all the family-friendly places we’ve visited. I’m thinking I might also point anyone coming to Las Palmas in the direction of the toy shops and tell you what’s available (there’s only a few weeks for any ARCers to get in the Christmas present shopping.)

More soon

Michelle xx

*On the note of buying stuff may I jump to the defence of queues in the likes of Primark often regarded as the worst in the world. They’re not  a patch on ones in the chandlery which are dire.  Queue jumpers, crossing over of staff, regulars butting in, some taking tickets others not… ggggrrrr.


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