On Friday the early check-in opened at the ARC offices so at 1000 I booked for a 1630 slot on the same day. There weren’t any queues at all as only 26 boats booked in and there are still another 110 boats to arrive in Las Palmas yet. Some of the charter boats have been flying all their ARC flags, 9 is the most we have seen but Northern Child has done far more. The marina has put up lots of lights and flags and the atmosphere is getting more celebratory.
Having already completed all the technical data online and paid, all we needed to do is provide a credit card so if we do not make St Lucia by 18 December, the company which provide the Yellowbrick trackers to each boat, can start charging us! We hope to be there by the 12th but if, as last year, there isn’t much wind, it could be a problem!
Our official number is 157 and anyone who wants to see our progress across the Atlantic can look for us on the ARC website under Fleet Information viewer. The tracker updates every 6 hours.
We also received a bag of information, including order forms for meat, fruit and vegetables, a Gran Canaria flag, comms. advice and the schedule for the next 2 weeks. There are free drink and food tasting sessions every evening from 1830-2000 laid on by various local suppliers, seminars on a host of ARC related topics, including emergency management, provisioning, weather and routing, SSB etc. These are held in the Club Nautico and Hotel Santa Catalina which is a 5* venue where our daughter is staying next week. We are hoping to have a luxurious bath at some point before she leaves!
Many suppliers sponsor parties over the next 2 weeks, ranging from a Salsa Night, to a family BBQ and cocktail party. There is also a club for children as many boats have children aboard.
Jerry ‘The Rigger’ from Gosport, who checked Beyzano in 2007 for the ARC, gave her a full inspection on Friday, which is free with our insurer, Admiral. XW Rigging replaced the rig in May, a year earlier than considered necessary but we felt it should be done before a trip of this length. Jerry found a couple of minor issues with the headsail furling line guide, now fixed, but said that he would be happy to cross the Atlantic on her 🙂
Our list of things to do in Las Palmas is actually very short and simple compared with some around us and I have realised how brilliantly Rob and the engineers we used in Gosport have prepared Beyzano. Rob has a wealth of information gleaned over the past 7 years and ensured we have been very well prepared and have virtually every tool we may need on board. He has become known on our pontoon as the man to ask for help! All we can do is prepare though but in the 3 weeks we have at sea anything can happen and we just have to hope we can mend or adapt to cope with any eventuality.
Meanwhile I have continued cooking and freezing meals and now have 11 ready to defrost and re-heat, including cottage pie, chilli and chicken casseroles. The boat is quite full already, so finding things is still a long task as what you need is always at the bottom!
We also did another quick tour of the island, driving inland to a beautiful valley where the houses are cut into the hillside. Well worth a visit as the residents are happy to show you inside their unusual homes. Rob and Steve walked to the old part of Las Palmas another day which is prettier than the modern area.