Baptism of fire! During our first 4 hours we had the same number of boats over the line as the first duty boat had in 48 hours and one of those had engine failure.
The previous boat got in their dinghy as we neared the mooring and handed over the log book, flashing yellow light for the night arrivals and banners, which we hoisted up as soon as possible so there was no issue with where the line was. It was very windy and got worse during our 24 hours, with gusts of 33 knots and rough seas. The mooring held well and this time the thicker line did not chafe. The line is well out in the bay and there isn’t much shelter.
No time to feel sea-sick though, with arrivals calling us at 5 miles, then 2 miles out, then as they rounded Pigeon Point and into the bay. We had to liaise with the ARC office and photographer and also to get a tow for 4 of the 37 boats we handled. It meant we only got half an hour’s sleep but it was great fun and the time sped by.
Even at 3am crews were jumping up and down with the excitement of arriving and we got caught up in their enthusiasm too. We hooted a horn and immediately took down their hour, minute and second of crossing between us and the marker buoy. The ARC Log Book has our boat’s ARCs from 2007 and 2011, an interesting read. A couple of the boats were just a few minutes apart, making for a bit more excitement but we rarely got a gap of more than an hour.
Tim Wright, the photographer is amazing, bouncing around in his dinghy far out into the bay and coming out for every boat over the 2 week period. Hard work.
A cruise ship and super yacht anchored in the bay and blocked our view of the incoming yachts but everyone managed to navigate around them and find us. The flashing yellow light was dazzling but effective. They couldn’t miss us!
The boats made a wonderful sight as they raced to the line but some had torn sails and the remaining sail flapped badly in the squalls. The weather has been dire but is expected to calm down soon, thank goodness. It was difficult handing over to Ko-Ko, the next duty yacht, as several yachts were approaching the line, plus it was dangerously rough when Rob took the bag out to them in our dinghy.
We now have 4 days rest before our next duty and then it is every other day until the line closes on 21 December. Our friend arrives shortly and we are at the Welcome Cocktail Party tonight, if we can stay awake 🙂