02 January 2012 | Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
We had our week of fun in the sun, and a special week it was, thanks to Tony and Eileen. Now it is time to get back to the more serious side of this trip and prepare for the next big passage to Panama.
We checked in today with the World ARC office. The rally includes thirty-three boats from 14 different countries. USA, Great Britain, and Germany top the list at eight, six and five boats respectively. This is the biggest fleet ever for the World ARC. There are 11 other boats who, like At Last, will be will double handed or sailing with just two people aboard. The boats range in size from 38 feet to 67 feet. We are right in the middle of the pack at 49 feet. Two of the boats have children on board, both two girls ranging in age from six to ten. A handful of people like us have taken a break from work to do the trip while many more are retired. Surprising to me, quite a few boats have all male crew and the wives will be joining the men for different times during the fifteen months we are at sea. How do these men do it? I cannot imagine having Mark go without me! Although my guess is that by the end of the trip I would be willing to forgo the three week passages and meet up with him at the next tropical island! Also surprising, there are a handful of boats that will be meeting us at some other port along the trip, mostly in Australia. Many of these boats started a previous World ARC and left the trip to spend a year or two in the New Zealand/Australia area and will be rejoining the trip to make the return. Oh, if we only didn't have to return to work!!!
We wanted to let everyone know that we had our swim platform fixed by a fantastic carpenter, Tyson. We also had two gentlemen refinish our teak. Mark just did not have the time and they did a fantastic job. It was 1/3 of the price we would have paid in the United States.
Best of all, Tony and Mark installed the companion way doors which Mark had purchased prior to leaving the States. Mark said that without Tony it would have taken him at least twice the time and at least twice the amount of frustration.
We will spend the rest of the week doing other needed maintenance projects and getting the boat ready for our trip to Panama. From what we have already heard, the trip to Panama may be the most challenging of the trip including the Caribbean 1500. We will be leaving on Sunday at noon for a seven day trip to the San Blas Islands located just off the coast of Panama. Once there, our good friend Andrea will be joining us for the transit through the Panama Canal. We will begin the canal transit on January 26th. We are really excited about this portion of the trip! This adventure is starting to get real. We will update the blog again before we leave and along the way.