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Homepage Slider Sailing and Travel — 24 December 2013

3000+NM and 26 days at sea and the crew of Jade has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and made it safely to St Lucia. Here’s a little round-up of our adventure…

Goodbye Las Palmas, ARC rally 2013

The big goodbye: Jade leaves to start the ARC 2013

Day 1:
We left Las Palmas on the 24th November, waved off by my parents who, supporting a very cosmopolitan crew, had to sport not one, not two but three flags!

Pretty much as soon as we left a squall came in and the winds picked up to 40+knots. It was a bit hairy as the sails were all up and were difficult to get down. Adam and I exchanged a few worried looks. If this was only Day 1 what were the next 20 or so days going to be like?

Waving goodbye in Las Palmas, ARC rally 2013

What a send off: flags for three countries

Day 3

As well as the night shift rota (2.5 hours each shift) we also introduced a kitchen hand rota to help me out. As the weeks went on everyone mucked in on a daily basis, regardless of shift. One crew member in particular went beyond expectations with his daily washing-up, making bread and generally being ‘handy’. It gives me great honour to announce that the winner of the ARC 2013 Kitchen Hand competition goes to Adam. Adam, please see me to collect your bottle of rum!



Day 4

The water was so calm. No wind, no waves and therefore no movement. Keith put out two lines and promptly caught two 5KG dorado. We ate some straight away, then over the next few days and there’s still plenty in the freezer for later.

We started tuning into the Radio Net, hosted by ARC participants. We huddled around the SSB radio and listened to reports about the weather, sightings and shared our locations. We became very familiar with some of the voices and by the end could do quite a good impression of them! Dave from Gozwoz, one of the radio controllers, became our favourite. We all cheered when his voice came over the radio.

At this time the main chat on the radio was fuel consumption. With no wind people were motoring and if they had to continue to do so they may run out of fuel. The possibility of stopping in the Cape Verde islands was discussed.
ARC 2013, pictures from Jade
Day 5

Undoubtedly one of the best things about the crossing was witnessing the night sky. For the first half of our journey we had no moon at all so the sky was littered with millions of stars. Shooting stars were whizzing past very regularly (I did make lots of wishes).

On Day 5 I was on the dawn watch which had the added bonus of seeing a changing sky. On this day the sunrise was absolutely beautiful with really vivid red with grey stripes and candyfloss clouds. Ferne, an early riser, liked to join me on this shift.

At this point in the journey I was reading (mostly by torchlight) Jennifer Saunders’ autobiography. It did make me chuckle and lightened the shifts that dragged. Thank you Jennifer. In particular, thank you for the description of your husband, Ade Edmonson looking like an onion.

Day 6
Don’t worry I’m not going to describe everyday as from here on in they all started blending into one. However, this night was notable as the sea was littered with phosphorescence. Not only were there little glittery, sparkly bits trailing off the sugar scoops but also pulsating blobs all around the boat. It was just like being at an at-sea disco.

Day 10

To avoid a tropical storm we chose to go ‘the scenic route’ around Cape Verde. We saw two turtles swimming past and more dolphins. We also began the Jade bread bake-off. Adam was first up and cooked up two white (and some black) loaves. They were tasty and Noah declared the freshly baked beauties ‘a masterpiece’. Ferne, myself and Keith all cooked up some Jade bread too.

Dawn sky near Cape Verde, Michelle Hannell

Days 11-20
If I wrote an entry for everyday it would be like ground-hog day. We got up, we had food, we had more food and then we did the night shift. We saw pretty much nothing for days on end. It became a bit of a joke. One of us would yell: ‘OMG there’s a bird, quick look’. We even started pointing out bits of driftwood.

Day 20

A bit of drama as the jammer broke. It was then fixed. Drama over.  However, it did make Alex reconsider which sails to use (the winds were by now pretty strong with big waves to match).

UNO, Scooby Doo, Guess Who, Battleships, Hungry Hippos, Chess and Monopoly are being played on a rotation basis. Keith got stuck into the games too (despite being subjected to Ferne’s cheating).

We were  beginning to get very tired around this point as the waves were throwing us all over the place. It was one thing to balance during the day but sleeping was pretty much impossible. The boat banged and thudded and things flew about. One night I came off shift to find Alex asleep surrounded by the contents of the bookshelf. The mattress literally jumped off the bed so when you were laying on it it felt like somebody was underneath trying to punch their way out.

Day 23

Land is feeling closer and we estimate to be there in three or four days. Around this time we started making lists of all the things we wanted to do as soon as we got to St Lucia. Adam’s list was quite extensive (he’s not used to life at sea) whereas myself and Alex had very little on our list.  A massage was on both lists as all the thrashing about made us feel very sore.

The wind was getting up to 40+ knots at this time and with huge swells so the guys had to hand steer. I chickened out of a nightshift or two at this point!

Day 26

We hoped to arrive in St Lucia in the daylight so we could see clearly. However, the wind was blowing so strong that, despite our best efforts not to, we ended up arriving in the middle of the night. We may have arrived in the middle of the night but that  did not stop us being greeted with horns, rum punches and then partying for a few hours. Woohoo!

I’m so very proud of all the crew. In particular Alex who guided us safely to St Lucia and kept his cool throughout and of course Noah and Ferne who barely batted an eyelid and were our on-board stars. We’re now looking forward to kicking back and enjoying a Caribbean Christmas before heading to the Grenadines.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and thank to everyone for their support and thoughts.

Michelle x


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(1) Reader Comment

  1. Now that\’s a real family adventure. What a wonderful experience for all of you.

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