12 December 2019 | 14 04.85'N:60 57.8'W, Rodney Bay, St Lucia
We have arrived and transitioned to our next phase of our adventure. Neverland crossed the finish line on Dec 7 at 7:21am local time (11:21 UTC) for an elapsed time of 15 days 21 hours 51 mins 43 secs. When I came onto my last watch for the passage we made a planned course change to be more off the wind at a broad reach. I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of sailing the boat under a nearly full moon on this point of sail without the rolling and yawing of the downwind sailing of the last 2 weeks. We had had a beautiful sunset and we experienced a gorgeous sunrise on the way into the harbor where we crossed the finish line.
During the days since arrival we have spent a lot of time relaxing and catching up on our sleep. We also had a few boat repairs to attend to such as getting the whisker pole repaired for our next run to Aruba. Fortunately, our old boat didn�'t experience some of the problems we saw on some of the newer boats. Perhaps the older boats were more over designed because they didn�'t know how the new materials of the day would perform.
Monica keeps commenting about how beautiful St Lucia is. It is completely different from the arid regions we visited at the beginning of our journey. We are at the tail end of the wet season here and everything a luscious green. We spent one day going to the rain forest in the center of the island. We enjoyed taking the zip lines down through the canopy as well as the tour during the cable car ride up and down the mountain. The guides are well trained in the history, culture and nature of the region.
Another day we visited a family farm for a cultural experience. The family and extended family want to keep the old way of doing things alive for future generations. They showed us how to bake the bread, saw lumber, and do a few dances. We were impressed during the tour of the grounds with the variety of plants. In addition to bananas and coconuts were nutmeg, cinnamon, cashews, and cocoa.
The awards ceremony was last night. There were awards for many categories including fishing photos, longest and shortest distances travelled, and the two boats that finished closest together (13 seconds apart). All of the kids were recognized with special prizes and certificates. The 8 boats with double handed crews and double handers with kids were recognized. The fleet was divided into multihulls and 3 divisions of monohulls. Neverland was in class 1C and actually won the class on corrected time. Each boat had been given a handicap and there was a penalty for using the boat�'s engine for propulsion. We chose to use our engine only for charging the batteries.
So tonight we are anchored in the bay having checked out of the marina and from St Lucia. We have put our copy of the Rally Handbook on the shelf for the last time. Tomorrow we head north to Martinique for a few days of French culture and cuisine. It will also be good opportunity to practice our French in conversation. We will go from there to Curacao for Christmas then to Aruba to put the boat in storage. We won�'t have the YB tracker anymore but I will provide position updates while underway. This journey is still full of awe and wonder.