Archer Adventures

Onboard "Jet-Lagged"

All Roads Lead to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

(Sorry for the late post - Paul's fault!)

Well it has been a long time coming but we have finally arrived in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain. Months of planning, excitement, packing for the unknown, have culminated in us setting eyes on Jet-Lagged, in person, for the first time along with the welcoming smiles of Paul and Shannon. Great to finally be here.

Jet-Lagged is simply spectacular. Plenty of space and very comfortable, well while we are tied up alongside in port at least! Our hosts are doing a great job at making us feel at home and also keeping us well hydrated.

The buzz around the marina with all the ARC Rally entrants is electric. Jet-Lagged is one of 165 boats taking part in the ARC Atlantic Crossing, going direct from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Sounds impressive in itself but there were another 96 boats in the ARC Plus, that left Sunday 5th November, going from Gran Canaria to Grenada via Cape Verde. The organisational skills of the ARC Rally organisers (affectionately known as Yellow Shirts) is astounding when you consider the number of boats, with the subsequent crew members, in the combined ARC Plus and ARC Rallies. There are organised sundowner drinks, crew dinners, educational sessions, island tours, and official opening ceremonies just to highlight a few of the activities planned. There is something going on all the time. Another highlight is meeting the other crews. Met some particularly nice people. Shame we will have to beat them across the Atlantic! Oops sorry Shannon I keep forgetting it’s not a race!!! How soon can we get the spinnaker up Cpt Ahab??

First things first Paul and Shannon registered Jet-Lagged in the rally and also booked our time for a safety inspection. Job done and our offical ARC Rally number of 154 if secured on the Starboard side rail and the Arc Rally 2023 flag flying on the mast. Getting real now.

To register each crew we had to have a passport photo for our ARC Rally ID. Unfortunately I didn’t read the bit about bringing a photo with us so Paul very kindly took a photo and printed it out on their inkjet. It is single handedly the worst photo I have seen of myself. Holly hell I look like Brains from the Thunderbirds!!!!

Safety, safety, safety. It’s what everyone is talking about. “Did you pass your inspection?” would be the most asked question this week. Paul was planning on booking us in for our safety inspection on Thursday which would have given us a few days to get everything sorted. Weren’t we surprised when he said our safety inspection was to be the next day. Apparently the Yellow Shirts powers of persuasion were strong and Paul was no match. In all seriousness they were keen to check us early which would then allow time to overcome any issues before the start. The list of requirements is long and extensive. Many don’t make any sense to a land lover like me but after 37 years of experience running the ARC Rally I am sure there is a reason for every item. Paul and Shannon have worked tirelessly for many months to prepare for the safety needs. Would hate to be trying to put it all together in a week. The Chandlery shops are doing a roaring trade. They feel very much like a Bunnings Store for Sailors! The time arrived and Andy, our Yellow shirt safety inspector arrived. We had everything laid out on the table, bribed him with a cup of tea, and then got underway. He was extremely thorough. The upshot was that we had a few items to fix but were 95% complete. Mainly to do with the grab bag if we have to abandon ship. There wasn’t enough food. The only problem now is that we will sail every day with the knowledge that there are 2 party packs of M&M’s in the bag that we can’t touch! Andy came back the following day to check we had fixed any issues. WE PASSED. TIME TO CELEBRATE.

Continuing on with the planning/safety theme Shannon arranged a local company to come and check out the mast and rigging to make sure it was all good. It passed with flying colours as it was perfect. They made climbing the mast look easy.

Onto the next big issue that everyone is talking about. How to provision for a crew of 4 to 5 people for 20 days! Lots of businesses here will accept online orders and deliver to the boat. Pretty cost effective as well but I think laying our eyes on the produce personally is preferred. Paul has hired a car so we can get to the bigger supermarkets for the really heavy stuff. Shannon and Franki have been like a pair of dynamo’s in this area with what appears to be a drill sergeant military type precision. Stocktake completed, cupboards repacked, breakfast/lunch/dinner plan completed, shopping list produced, and a 3 day shopping plan completed.

Lots of social events going on.
We went to the official welcome drinks on Friday night. The ARC Rally yellow shirts put on another great evening. There was a big contingent with a connection to Saint Lucia. Sounds like a beautiful location. They were all lovely people and very proud of their country. We met Priscilla who was from Saint Lucia and her husband who is from Sri Lanka. They both live in England now. She was a hoot. If this is an example of what the people are like in Saint Lucia we are going to have a great time.
The offical Yacht Club dinner at the Real Club Nautico was on Saturday night. What a spectacular location. Great food and great company.
Had the official opening ceremony Sunday, 1 week to go, with a march including the flags from the countries of the world who have teams in the rally. There are representatives from 31 countries. They had 2 Spanish bands and a big contingent from Saint Lucia dressed in traditional clothes. We did Australia proud.

A day out exploring a bit of the north coast and west coast of Gran Canaria was the reward for getting a lot done so far. That and the shops are shut on the weekend. My map reading and tour guide abilities were called into question. Shocked and stunned by this level of overt criticism. Ok I will admit it was terrible. Very arid looking land. Found a lovely location on the way back to Las Palmas right on the water for lunch. Great food and great location where we could look straight out over the ocean. The steak with garlic sauce was really good. Was a little confronting as the waiter caramelised the sauce on top of the steak as Paul’s face attested to. Wind and waves were up a bit today. The houses are perched right on the edge of the ocean as there is not much flat land between the mountains and the ocean to build on. The salt water must take its toll on the buildings. In this town area they had even closed off a street to build a little play area for the children.

Shannon bought some plants today to add some greenery to the boat plus some herbs as an added bonus for the chefs. She has placed them next to Poncho Jnr, the boats mascot. Hopefully he doesn’t eat too much.

Well better get off. Have stainless steel to polish, shopping to carry, sundowner drinks to attend. The life of a simple sailor is so very difficult.

Murray Coulter