That was the ARC (Part 2 -Getting there)
With the winter refit complete, the next challenge was getting the yacht from the Baltic to the start line in Las Palmas. In many ways this posed a greater challenge than the Atlantic crossing itself. Unlike many of the other participants in the ARC we were not at the start of a prolonged sailing sabbatical and did not have the luxury of almost limitless time to do the delivery passage. Somehow we had to complete the 2,300 mile delivery trip whilst still trying to hold down full time jobs.
It wasn't easy, and involved no less than 7 different legs and crew changes, all carefully juggled so as to maximise the use of public holidays and fit in with various ongoing work projects. However, with the help of a small but extremely loyal crew who together flew many air miles in their quest to help us in the delivery, and a very supportive team who covered for us back in the office, somehow we managed it. By the middle of September we were in Las Palmas and almost ready for the start.
It would be easy to dismiss this part of the project as just a "delivery trip" but in reality it is an essential part of the ARC, not least of all because it consititutes the "pre qualification passage" needed for entry. The 900 mile leg down the Portuguese west coast and on to the Canary Islands was largely all trade wind sailing and provided a valuable foretaste of what was to come in the crossing itself. It also provided us with the opportunity to cruise some fantastic areas that otherwise we probably would never have considered visiting in isolation - Galicia, the Algarve and the Canary Islands.
(Part 3 to follow)