It’s almost time to cast off for the Caribbean

Version 2After 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…

A seminar on Weather - one of many classes

A seminar on weather – one of many classes

The hole up to XXXX for the tree plantings

The hike up to the tree plantings area

The view overlooking Las Palmas

The view overlooking Las Palmas

Lars & Pat planting

Lars & Pat hard at work

David planting

David showing off one of his many plantings

One of the evening functions - The Crew Dinner

One of the evening functions – The Crew Dinner

A helicopter retreval safety demonstration

A helicopter retrieval safety demonstration

A flares safety demonstration

A flares safety demonstration

A liferaft demonstration

A liferaft demonstration

It works! The drone is launched.

It works! The drone is launched

The drones first photo of the marina (Spirit is the 2nd boat from the left)

The drone’s first photo of the marina (Spirit is the 2nd boat from the left)