10th January - 20 January 2015
Sailing to Columbia
Although it is not officially a race, each leg does have an official start and finish line with prizes awarded for the first three places. On this first leg, we also had one racing mark that we had to round off Castries which forced all the boats to sail along the coast and turn off towards Columbia outside of the Castries. It makes great pictures for the local press who had a helicopter taking pictures.
At this first and only mark on the course, we were sailing parallel to two other boats as we neared the mark with us on the inside.
As we neared the mark, the boat next to us started to cut across us, forcing us to hit the mark (it was only a blow up plastic mark so better hit that than the other boat). As we shouted at them (as you do), they made a hard turn to port sending the stern of their boat into the side of ours. Nothing we could do and fortunately it did not damage to us but it did to them. Not a good start because no-one ever thinks it was their fault and we had not really spoken much to them in the lead up to the start. Luckily for us one of the World ARC team saw the collision and said that they we clearly at fault but the initial conversation in Santa Marta with them was a little awkward!
The next four days were almost perfect sailing conditions and we average 175 miles each day – we would have been pleased with 150 miles per day. We all knew that the last 24 hours would be the most difficult and the last 6 hours would be even more challenging as we closed in on the Columbia coast so it took the shine off the good days we were having. In the event, while the wind and waves were steeper on day 5, it was only the last 6 hours which was really rough. We were on a beam reach with the wind and waves coming over the side in 35 knot winds, gusting to 42 knots for the last 6 hours in pitch black as we closed the coast. It was rough, wet as the waves came over the side and just on the edge!
1 mile from the finish line the wind just stopped and went down to 8 knots and we had to motor the last mile. The winds had just died at 4am as we came into the harbour and it made for an easy berthing. As soon as we tied up, it was beers all round and some of the other boats who came in after us joined us for an early morning beer – 6am counts as a very early morning beer! We were all glad to be in and tied up and nothing broken on the way.
|Street market in Santa Marta|
|Setting for the Beach BBQ|
|Waiting to get on the Motor Boats|
|It was a party all the way back|
|Kerry, Catherine and Mauren neogitating|
|Street in Cartegena|
|Sight of many battles with English,||French and Spanish|
We made the journey back to Santa Marta just in time for the briefing for the next leg of the journey and the farewell dinner immediately afterwards. Further speeches over dinner, some prize giving and a few more drinks before going back to the boat.
The Tuesday morning was very busy – we had until 11am to get all the final jobs completed on the boat, clean it and do all the shopping and put it away. Not good planning but it was worth going to Cartegena and putting up with a little bit of stress. As we left the harbour for the start line we were still packing away food and finishing of the jobs, some of which we completed as we were crossing the start line.
Off to San Blas Islands. (just off Panama).