Counting down the hours to Spirit’s race across the Atlantic

ARC LogoLast week Spirit arrived here in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria after a 1,200 nm transit south from Palma. Also arriving were myself, Pat and David, along with Lars (who helped bring the boat down from Palma) with our crew couple Tom and Hannah – six of us, ready to race for the Caribbean.

Las Palmas is a bustling city overflowing with Spanish ambience, history and culture. It’s located on the northeast corner Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, about 93 miles off the northwestern coast of Africa. It’s also a major stopping point for transiting sailors.

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The start – Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

It’s been a busy few weeks with Tom tending to Spirit’s maintenance needs and pre-crossing Oyster warranty work, and Hannah preparing and freezing food for the almost 19 day crossing to St. Lucia. There’s not a square inch of unused space anywhere on the boat – bottled water is everywhere! Also, Pat brought his new drone with the goal of attaching a GoPro camera and capturing ariel shots of Spirit’s adventure – testing and calibration is on-going.

Over the next several days we’ll all be involved in various seminars on safety, weather, communications and other critical ocean sailing topics. Of course there’ll be evening parties to allow all who are participating in the ARC+ race to get to know one another. There will be approximately 65 boats crossing the starting line on November 8th for the 865 nm first leg to Mindelo, Sao Vicente in the Cape Verde Islands. There’s definitely a “racing spirit” in the air. Tom has been racing since he was old enough to walk, and, given the competitive spirit in the rest of us, anytime we see another sailboat on the horizon it will be “game on.”

The pictures below capture some of the geography and excitement of our days leading up to the ARC+ start.

For armchair sailors, there are a few ways to watch Spirit’s progress starting November 9th.

  1. Go to the Spirit website at theyachtspirit.com to see the latest posts and click on Satellite Tracker on the right hand side of the home page to Spirit’s current position – by clicking on the orange marker you’ll see Spirit’s latitude/longitude, course and speed.
  1. Go to the satellite tracker directly at http://my.yb.tl/sailingyachtspirit
  1. For a comprehensive real-time view of the entire racing fleet go to the World Cruising Club ARC+ Fleet Viewer; http://www.worldcruising.com/arc/eventfleetviewer.aspx After a moment click ARC+ 2015. The screen will show the entire fleet – you can enlarge, move the map, position the cursor over the boats to get stats, see the distance to finish etc. At the bottom of the page is a slider that allows you to see the movement of boats over time.

Watch for daily posts with updates on Spirit’s progress, the weather, and interesting tidbits about life on-board.

Thanks to all for your continued interest in Spirit’s journey.

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Las Palmas skyline

Las Palmas beach and marina

Las Palmas beach and marina

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Hoisting the signal flags

Hoisting the signal flags

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Spirit, all dressed

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Tom briefing us on man-overboard retrieval

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Pat’s drone – testing stage I with Lars supervising

David taking over galley duties - preparing his famous nachos (The Glenlivet Scotch was not an ingredient)

David taking over galley duties – preparing his famous nachos (the Glenlivet Scotch was not an ingredient)

ARC+ Map

The route across the Atlantic

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The Spirit Crew; Back row from left – Dick (US), David (US), Lars (Norway), & Pat (US). Front from left – Hannah & Tom (Crew-couple from the UK)