After almost 5,400 nautical miles (6,200 statute miles) since taking delivery of Spirit in May, transiting the English Channel, the Atlantic coastlines of France, Spain and Portugal, cruising the Mediterranean sailing grounds around Mallorca, Sardinia and Corsica – it’s time for Spirit to head for the Caribbean. Sunday at 1:00 pm Gran Canaria time, 8:00 am U.S. East coast time, we start leg 1 racing down the coast of Africa to Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands – 865 nautical miles.
Our preparations here in Las Palmas are almost complete and we’re all very anxious to get underway. As the pictures below show, we’ve had seminars on managing emergencies, downwind sailing, communications, weather, routing, first-aid and more. Every evening there’s been some kind of social function. We’ve completed all the last minute maintenance on Spirit and spent a lot of time familiarizing ourselves with all the systems on board. We also spent a day high in the mountains overlooking Las Palmas where the ARC organized a community service project of forest replantation – a group of 36 ARC+ participants planted over 200 seedlings to help the islands long-term environment. The 1.6 km hike up to the planting area was interesting as there was substantial rainfall the days prior – translated, a slippery muddy trail.
Pat and Lars have continued their quest to get the drone off the ground, or water. Yesterday, the tests proved successful as not only did the drone launch, it took photos and movies of the marina. Also, there’s the fishing dilemma – in over 6,000 miles we haven’t caught any! So, Pat went off to the tackle shop for more lures convinced that it has nothing to do with our lack of fishing experience and everything to do with how much money is spent on lures. Confidence abounds that the fish will now jump on the boat.
Tomorrow we’re setting all the running and safety rigging so we’ll be good to go on Sunday – a day we’ve all been looking forward to for many months. Stay tuned…