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Challenger 3 – ARC 2018

By Tall Ships - December 18th, 2018 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

Recap to now

Las Palmas Marina is full of yachts making preparations for the ARC and you can feel the excitement growing as food deliveries arrive throughout the day.

We finally have all thirteen souls on board, welcoming some last minute additions. Some of us have been enjoying the ARC seminars, including emergency navigation, route and weather guide, celestial navigation and a helicopter air-sea rescue demo. Angie and Beth instead headed for the beach and were shocked at the broken down plastic marking the high tide line. You can also see plastic particles floating in the marina among the boats. We will be making a conscious effort to wash and store our plastic during our crossing so that we can responsibly recycle it upon landing in St Lucia.

Our first surgical procedure was completed by our resident doctor Will, who patched up a growing blister on Beth’s foot. We’re still in disagreement over the name of the mascot, but he was second in line, ending in surgery on the table when he nearly got decapitated during food stowage operations.

Naming options are currently Baz, Beary-mc-bear-face, ted.. send in your votes. Calls cost 20p and lines close at 12.30pm on Sunday. We also have two ducks, Nutquacker and Steve Aldridge’s Kevin-the-duck prodigé.

Most deck jobs are now complete with sails prepped and hanked on, fruit and veg washed and stowed and a freezer full of meat (much to Tom’s dismay).

A Night in Rio saw us win our first competition of the ARC – the best crew fancy dress! The judges couldn’t decide between two crews, so we ended up in a dance off on stage. Sam and Will’s moves swayed the crowds who cheered us to victory. We were an eclectic mix, with a Knight in Rio, four butterflies, lots of carnival wear and a blow up rainbow unicorn.

A game of crew bonding ended up with a democratic argument on song choices. We have 3,000 miles to get used to The Greatest Showman.

We tried to brave the Tapas street party last night but were taken by a storm on route, so the crew feasted at the Tropical Dog and were then trapped in Sailors Bar until the early hours instead.

We’re all eagerly awaiting the start and can’t wait to finally get out to sea.

Sending all our love to our adventure buddies around the world – Sharon, Tom and Beth xxx

Day Two

Settling in to a Challenger is like meeting an old friend. They are fantastic boats and I’m looking forward to crossing the Atlantic again, this time in the other direction. Big thanks to the ARC organisers for seeing us off with fireworks last night, and for all the events and demonstrations.

The start today was a real spectacle with I understand over 190 yachts leaving. The Spanish Navy Warship El Tornado saw us off (possibly to make sure we all left?!) and acted as the port marker on the start line.

We are currently heading roughly towards Cape Verde islands hoping to pick up the trade winds from there.

Challenger 4 has gone off in a different direction, so we will see which Skipper has chosen the right tactics!

As the afternoon went on we saw less and less boats with the Canaries disappearing behind us.

Now dark with the moon not yet risen, so the stars are bright with the Milky Way above us.

Looking forward to dawn watch and seeing an empty sea…..

Love to all my family.

Steve T

Day Three

We have now completed 24 hours and we are all settling into our watch duties. With two watches overnight, we had the bonus of seeing the first sunset and the first sunrise at sea. We had great fun trying to star gaze seeing Orion’s belt and dagger, and this morning planet Venus was tracking across the sky. Jarl’s constellations app kept us in check when we weren’t sure what we were looking at!

We were woken up to a wonderful lunch, carefully prepared by Lena with her special vinegaret salad – we are definitely not going to get scurvy on this voyage, the food has been great! As and when we get dripped on at the dinner table by the fruit hanging above our heads, we have to find the culprits and eat them. Todays were the Kaka fruit, which were delicious.

Around 12.35pm Paul spotted the distinctive blow of whales on the port side heading towards the North African coast. Let’s hope we keep seeing wildlife as we get further across.

It seems that our watch are always on collision courses, with three boats in 12 hours passing close by, even though there is a big whole ocean to play with. Gary is pleased that there are no boats in sight (within about a 24 mile radius) this evening!

On Paul’s watch Sharon was the speed queen achieving 10.4 kts, and on Beth’s watch Demon Steve achieved 13.0 kts. The wind and swell are picking up and we are surfing tonight!

We have all had a turn helming and I am gaining more confidence, it is great to be able to helm such a fantastic boat.

We have been busy developing quizzes for the rest of the crew – who needs Reeds Nautical Almanac when you have Will on board?! He even worked out the correct (!) time from the stars last night. To aide our childish excitement, Sam found us a ‘flip quiz’ book for 9-10 year olds, which Beth eagerly tested Will on until his patience ran out and the book was put away for “fun time” another day. Meanwhile, Dave spent the afternoon studying for his gas exam, little does he know that Beth and I are scheming to create quiz questions as revision for him too!

We’re settling in for the evening and Ricky (Challenger 4) appears to be following our tactics, so we will see what the positions are in the morning. We achieved 181 miles in the first 24 hrs, only around 3,000 still to go!

Lots of love to all my family and friends. Thanks to everyone who has donated to the Tall Ships Youth Trust and Mind that I have been raising money for on this voyage. It will be great that young people can experience the team building and personal challenge that comes with sailing a boat like this.

Ange x

Day Four

Paul’s watch had an exciting few hours early this morning as they passed close by the stern of another yacht. Hearing the animation on deck I lay in my bunk scaring myself that the swell had increased and we’d be in for a hairy few hours on the helm. I had to get up and check and arrived on deck, far too early for my watch, to find everything well and the yacht now in the distance. Silly me!

Being on the helm of a 72 foot yacht surfing through the waves is exhilarating to say the least. It was the part of the trip that had been worrying me the most but I’ve found myself to have a huge grin on my face instead! I look forward to the surge of a big wave now and hope another will come – we’re always in competition for the top speed!

Our 8am watch started in glorious sunshine with clear skies. Asking Gary cheekily if I could climb the mast, I was surprised when he said yes! Rolling in the swell, I sat on the first spreaders and counted my lucky stars to be on a trip like this! The view was spectacular – deep blue ocean surrounding us and not another boat in sight. It reminded me of my first trip on Stavros when I was 16 years old, which is where my Tallships journey began all those years ago.

The only thing missing was a Jolly Roger to keep the child in me alive and so we hoisted the £2.28 purchase I’d made before the voyage and the skull and cross bones fluttered in the wind. Very Swallows and Amazons. What a morning! Gary was “keeping the peace” by letting me play – his words.

From the midday position reports, it seems as though it could well have been Challenger 4 that Paul so carefully avoided last night – there’s everything to play for in the race for St Lucia.

Fruit dripping from the nets caught Steve off guard and reminded us to check our food stores. We’re getting through the Kaki fruit quite quickly and the chorizo is already sweating – it’s not even that warm yet! The Caribbean heat will be quite a shock compared to the snowy pictures we received of England before we left. The evenings become chilly by the graveyard shift, but Sharon remains in shorts – she’s our only hardy Scottish lass and she’s proving it!

“Mum” Angie spent the weeks leading up to the trip finding recipes to keep us going on night watches and today she was in her element. Apple tray bake (to use up the ripening fruit) was delicious and set the baking standards high. Tom and Sharon (Paul’s watch) took on the challenge and created a spectacular Mediterranean pork and vegetable dinner that we dreamt about as we took to our bunks.

While we took a siesta, Sam and Tom found the clippers (not the yacht race variety) and shaved their heads, so at least they won’t get bad tan lines now.

With the staysail now lashed on deck to reduce our speed, we still ended up surfing our way through the night. Our navigation knowledge was tested as what became an oil rig appeared on the horizon and we added Mars to the star gazing list.

With phosphorescence bubbling in our wake, we’re very thankful that we still have another few weeks before this adventure will end.

Lots of love to all at home from a very happy Beth. xxx

Day Five

With our Atlantic crossing truly underway, we now find ourselves 860Nm into our 3200Nm (my prediction) journey. Our daily average speed is sitting comfortably just under 10knots so we are making good on the famous trade winds and covering at least 200 Nm per day.

Already we have been fortunate enough to see an array of wild life; from a couple of whale sittings to flying fish and sea birds, to being left grinning from ear to ear, after watching several schools of dolphins dancing around the bow of the boat.

Much like Beth’s watch we have enjoyed a few beautifully clear night skies and found ourselves testing out our knowledge of constellations. Each night, me and Paul can no doubt be found searching for the Big dipper as some might know it by. Although Pauls knowledge of stars is up for debate after his state of terror when emerging from below deck and confusing Venus for a masthead light that was seemingly bearing down upon us. The Ghost Ship as it is now known as.

The weather has been second to none, with not a drop of rain, unlike back home… instead we have had sunny days and clear nights so far. To top it off the wind reports have been spot on, and look continuously in our favour (touch wood).

Life below deck has been and team moral has been equally as great, with everyone getting on brilliantly and becoming more of a family each day. the food has been brilliant despite my veg being aldente. And the battle of the dripping Kaki continues… the predictions have been made for top speed, average speed, distance, and date/time of arrival. Prize is yet to be confirmed. I think its safe to say we are all settled in now and having an incredible time.

With my helming being slightly unpredictable on my last voyage, I feel like I have now started to tame the beast and my competitive edge is beginning to show as the battle for top speed continues. I can’t wait for that next big gust and large swell to send me surfing down on my way to victory.

P.s. Mum, Dad, Sis… I’m bold now.

Bold Tom!

Day Six

A landmark day today as at about 0945 this morning we passed 1000nm since we left Gran Canaria and probably as well about one-third distance to St Lucia.  We were also the 6th fastest boat in the whole ARC fleet over the last 24 hours, having covered 222nm at an average speed of 9.3 knots!  This all lead to a very happy Skipper, and Gary treated us all with surprise (cold!) beers at lunchtime, leading to a very happy crew!

We have also finally been able to turn properly west (and finally avoid the Cape Verde Islands) as the wind continues to lose its northerly component and become the trade winds proper, blowing us straight from Africa to the Caribbean.  Having been reaching for the last couple of days and living life tilted at 30 degrees, we are now back with our headsail poled out and living on a slightly more level 10 degrees or so, which is much more comfortable (although as I type this, Yarl and Gary have been driving and we seem to keep leaning over so the mouse and keyboard keep sliding away!).  If you’ve been following us on the ARC fleet tracker, you’ll have seen that we’ve come quite a lot further southeast than most of the fleet, but we’ve been hunting the wind, and it looks like we’ve found it!  We may have a bit further to go than some other boats, but we’re banking on going faster…!!!  Surfing 60 tons and 72 feet of ocean-going yacht down 30ft waves at 15 knots never ceases to be utterly amazing!

Today has been a bit cloudy and quite a lot cooler than previous days (still shorts and t-shirts, though!).  Last night was positively chilly and most of us resorted to foulies for the night watches.  Night watches have also been about dodging flying fish!  There are masses of them!  Aside from the dozen or so that we heard hit the deck (or Beth) overnight and managed to rescue back into the sea, one flew straight down the companionway and landed under the chart table, and we found another 14 scattered around the deck once the sun came up and we could see them, and one final fish had flown in through the saloon hatch and ended up in all our fruit suspended from the ceiling!  There may be others hiding still…

Food continues to be amazing, with Sharon and Paul turning their hands to bread making today.  Two loaves, beautifully risen and absolutely delicious.  With that and Angie’s apple tray-bake before, Great Ocean Bake Off, anyone?

Happy Birthday, Connie!


Day Seven

Today started at 04:00 for Paul’s watch of Sharon, Lena, KP and Tom.  A relatively quiet watch with only one flying fish to return to the deep but the routine deck walk after sunrise revealed a couple of issues.  Chafe is the enemy and the kicker (holds the boom down) had worn through the outer sheath and was starting to wear the inner core, also a couple of hanks on the Yankee sail had become detached.  Enter skipper Gary stage left in his “pants of power” (climbing harness) and the problem of the hanks was quickly resolved.  Likewise the kicker was altered to move the chafe point and give a better lead into the block on the vang which had caused the problem.

Breakfast is prepared by the duty watch for the oncoming watch and KP volunteered to prepare pancakes – approximately three dozen later he was so sick of the sight and smell he was unable to eat any himself!  The rest of the watches were very grateful though.

Beth’s watch made the unpleasant discovery of our first vegetables past their best – well, rotten really!  A lot of sorting/disposing/cleaning later everything was re-stowed and order returned.

Challenger 3 continues to make excellent progress with another 200+ mile day.  The speed record was broken again with a surf of 17.0 knots but this may be subject to a steward’s enquiry as the numbers were only witnessed by the person at the helm!  Forecast winds ahead look good and we hope to continue the amazing progress we have made so far – halfway celebrations are imminent!

After the crystal clear skies of the first few days we have had a couple of cloudy/hazy/humid ones but were surprisingly treated to a stunning sunset which lit up the sky this evening.

Dinner was prepared by Lena one of our two Swedish crew members and consisted of crushed new potatoes, Lena’s homemade coleslaw with a very tasty dressing and Spain’s answer to Cumberland sausages! – very tasty though!!

Beth’s watch has now taken over on deck to see us through to midnight and Paul’s watch is preparing to head to their bunks to await skipper’s evening rounds when he tells each of us a bedtime story and tucks us in.

Finally, happy 7th birthday to my grandson Archie.

From the crew of Challenger 3, thanks for listening.


Day Eight

Christmas Update

Yesterday was the first day of advent, so I opened my annual DIY advent calendar, carefully packaged by my Mum before the trip. Inside was a set of instructions with flags, decorations and felt tip pens. The Christmas lights were already hanging up over my bunk!

Each day we have to find a spot for another decoration and draw a picture from the voyage on a triangle of bunting, signed by the relevant member of crew. I drew a skull and cross bones, while Sharon and Angie set to work hanging their decorations from the fruit nets to start us off.

Night watches are either 2000-0000 and 0400-0800 or 0000-0400 on alternate days and I’m always keen to find new ways to keep us awake! Steve’s Choco-Mocha does wonders, but tonight, inspired by Mum’s advent instructions, Angie, Steve and I set to work on our own version of the 12 days of Christmas.. so here goes!

On the first day of sailing, the ARC gave to me a Jolly Roger in the cross trees.

On the second day of sailing, the ARC gave to me two slimy squid and a Jolly Roger in the cross trees.. [you get the idea!]

Twelve flying fish

Eleven sailors sleeping

Ten dolphins dancing

Nine constellations

Eight veg are leaking

Several kettles boiling

Six halyards swaying

Five sail ties

Four squeaky blocks

Three storm petrels

Two slimy squid

And a Jolly Roger in the cross trees!

It’s strange getting into the festivities while we speed towards the heat of the Caribbean, but Mum, we are trying! Lots of love to all at home, Beth and Angie xxx

P.S. Angie’s Red Bull rations have officially run out – spirits are impressively still high!

Day Nine

Our day started on the 4 – 8 am watch. It feels so long ago already. We have been finding new ways to pass the time on night watch, namely alphabetical by nature question and answers which always ends in hilarity. Weather it be miss hearing blockbusters for Ghostbusters, the whole watch trying to remember Morgan Freemans name, or consistently making reference to Birmingham for no particular reason.

Gary was up on the pole checking for chafe in his pants of power once again this morning. The working Yankee sheet was showing signs of wear and needed replacing. We managed to continue sailing without dropping the Yankee this meant we were able to progress with minimal loss of speed and keeping us alive in the race with challenger 4.

We were rewarded today with a midway party on deck celebrating our progress so far. Which consisted with a multitude of wonderful and not necessarily practical fancy dress outfits. We are all still living up to our title in Las Palmas! We also had palm trees and a unicorn to decorate the boat. We were tasked with a treasure hunt by Ange and Beth to complete a boat treasure hunt with a series of clues. Myself and Tom won! We had some cakes and drinks to celebrate all round. With both watches getting to spend some time together and have the music speakers on loud.

Later on in the afternoon as dinner was being prepared and the sun beginning to set there was a shout from on deck, surfing through the wave behind the boat there was a whale possibly 3 in total. Not long after we were joined by at least 12 dolphins and they were jumping clean out the water alongside the boat and riding the waves on the bow. What a perfect way to end the day.

Sharon and bald Tom.

Day Ten

POEM – The Sound Of A Sailing Ship At Night

On deck, the metallic creak of the kicker.

Rumble of the sails as the wind steals around the leeward side,

and sends a shock running to stern through Yankee, Staysail, and finally Main;

resolving in a crack as it leaves the leech.

Reefing lines tap tapping lightly against the Mainsail.

The gentle ting-ting of the steering gear as the wheel seeks the perfect course;

never to be found.

Blanketing all, the sound of the wind and sea.

Air buffers around head, ears and hard surfaces, creating pockets of reverberation;

then silence.

The wave sound is so complex, you listen for one hour and break it down.

First there is the high pitched hiss, all pervasive;

Like Tinnitus, you can forget to hear it.

Then there is the popping of the foam; Spumanti of the waves.

Soft from a single Champagne glass, but loud from a million million bubbles.

Last there is the crunch of the surf, overlaying all else.

Compressing along each side of the hull; alternatively.

And leaving with a sigh.

Sharp surprise of a wave collapsing

off the Stern; Windward side.

Then below decks to near quiet,

With the whine of the propeller and shaft released (for now),

from the slavery of the engine.

Protesting anew at each acceleration through the waves.

The sound merging with the dreams

of those gently rocking in their bunks.


Dec 4th – The ARC at Night

Under a million stars,

guided by Venus and Mars..

Helmed by a sleepy crew,

downing another hot brew..

Heading west, crescent Moon,

another shift change soon..

Surfing waves without sight,

this is the ARC at night..


Day Eleven

Riddle me this, we currently sit amongst a thousand unspoilt miles in every direction, with only the ARC fleet, of some 200 ships containing 1200 human beings for company. Mental arithmetic gives us 3,147,200 square miles to play in, or approximately 3,000 square miles per person. The context of this vastness, in which we revel, is that if 16,000,000 folk live within the 110 odd mile circumference of the M25, surrounding London, meaning each square mile swallows up 20,000 people and spits them out at any given moment… it’s a world away.

We are all eagerly awaiting tomorrows scheduled meteor shower so numerous night sky books are littering challenger 3 at the moment and we are hoping for another clear sky. None of last night’s ominous clouds to re appear and spoil what promises around 8- shooting stars per hour.

After heat and tiredness beginning to creep up on a few of us, a much appreciated cooler and quieter day was much appreciated, with people getting some good sleep, we all appear to be well rested and managing to escape the worst of the sun.

Early this morning we crossed the 2,000 mile marker and soon after passed 1,000 left to run. A slight change in tactics found us gybing to head slightly NW in the hopes of catching a low pressuring line, with stronger, more predictable and direct weather systems. After around 10 hours of our new course we then gybed back and set up the sails to continue a downwind sail, hoping to keep closing the gap on Challenger 4 after then managed to gain some miles back on us of the previous 24hours.

AKA Stewie, AKA Parker and Tom. AKA bold tom AKA bald Tom

Day Twelve

Day after day we are blessed with beautiful sunshine and kind seas and so the challenge is less of the sailing but rather keeping ourselves occupied. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some of our daily routines.

For Angie and Sharon, bums in the air for downward dog and trying not to fall over during dolphin pose is the source of much laughter, both for them and the rest of us. In fact, the more curious crew members are even daring to join the fun, with KP, Will and Gary becoming regulars in Angie’s yoga class. The next class will include practising the pigeon pose, for when we sail past Pigeon Island – KP be warned!

Sam and Beth are more akin to a circuit session, persuading Sharon to double up on exercise classes on the odd occasion. The “squat train”, which involves three people squatting in unison for lack of space in the cockpit seems to engage the helm in a game of rock the boat with the excuse of changing winds.

Our visit to the beautician on the seas even included a foot spa today – thank you to Angie’s friend Maxine for donating us coconut and argon oiled smooth feet!

Jarl’s daily routine is sunbathing with a book, only to get too hot in the Atlantic sun. To cool down he stands at the back of the boat pouring buckets of sea water over himself. We are rather used to this now, but it does cause some eyebrow raising when an unsuspecting member of Paul’s watch comes on deck during the routine. Now dubbed the “Bilge Bucket Challenge”, we are now trying to get the whole crew to give it a go!

Dolphins are becoming a regular occurrence, but one that never ceases to amaze. Today we had another minke whale that stayed for some time surfing the waves around us, even turning onto its side to show us its white belly.

The graveyard shift can often be a difficult one for our watch to stay awake for so please send in your ideas! Steve was impressed with my full synopsis of ‘We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea’ by Arthur Ransome in an avid Swallows and Amazons discussion (Nana, those nights reading to us were not wasted). During our often silly games, Jarl and Dave are in a silent battle for the bean bag – as one gets up only for a moment, their comfy spot is already filled by the other.

Angie and I were very pleased with our efforts to create the crew their own treasure hunts for the halfway party, leaving pirates and treasure firmly on our minds. Sam left his washing out on the rail to dry while off watch, only to find a full treasure map with clues he had to find and solve when he came back on watch at midnight. Although I hasten to add that it wasn’t my idea (Steve!), I didn’t need much encouragement to go to town with it. I considered tea-staining the map for full effect, but we decided that probably was too far. Anyone leaving possessions around the boat is now aware of the potential treasure-hunting consequences.

Paul’s watch never seem to have a problem staying awake and the deck is often filled with raucous laughter as another random discussion unfolds. We’ve been firmly advised not to ask questions and what is discussed on watch definitely stays on watch with that lot!

Food-wise, we are still enjoying incredible meals with fresh baked loaves and baps from Sharon and Paul and the delights of Chef Ramsey (bald Tom).

Challenger 4 are firmly in our grasp, as we continue to make progress on our VMG (velocity made good) against theirs – we are now only 14 nm behind them in our final run into the finish and we are currently in 7th place overall. We’re still trusting Gary’s tactics and hope we can see Challenger 4 in the next few days.

Our thoughts are drifting to Caribbean beaches, snorkelling and rum, as we’ll probably end up with a few extra days to explore the islands before coming home.

Sending lots of love and hugs to our adventure buddies and families at home – we look forward to sharing our stories with you (now very!) soon.

Special thanks to all Angie’s family, and friends especially friends at the Golf Club and Got2sing for continuing to read about and track our progress.

Beth and Angie xxx

Day Thirteen

A Skyfall Limerick

There once was a squall in the Atlantic,

That made our crew work somewhat frantic

We rocked and we rolled,

visibility put on hold,

skipper Gary thought the climb was fantastic



It’s been an exciting few days as we encounter overnight squalls on our final run into the Caribbean. After a few days of lighter winds, it has been exhilarating to be surfing down waves on the helm again. Steve has now matched Will on a top speed of 16.2 knots – including matching his big grin helming face!

We have a competition sweepstake amongst the crew as we guessed best our average boat speed, longest distance run, arrival dates etc. With watch leaders excluded (I’ll note here that would be in first and second place!) Will and Steve are joint first for top speed so far, so Sharon and Tom will be playing in the surf for the final few days to catch them up!

Yesterday morning as a squall changed course and tracked over us, the wind indicator swung wildly in a 35 knot gust, causing us to crash gybe and break the preventer holding the boom on the port side. I found myself on deck in my pyjamas (lifejacket and shoes) in the middle of a squall with rain lashing the decks – the waves were flattened by the force of the rain, similar to an oil slick, making the scene an eerie one.

No one was hurt and I found us all rather steadily following instructions to reduce our sail size. Wrestling the staysail to the foredeck was a strong reminder of the power of the wind and the following night watch we were all slightly on tenterhooks, paying more attention to Gary and Sam tracking the squalls on radar.

Gary spent over an hour up the mast doing a full rig check and repairing a car on the main track. Watching your skipper swing around at the top of the mast as the boat rolled in the swell should fill you with some trepidation, but his northern singing at the top of his voice did a good job of calming the crew.

Back into our sunny day time routines, Angie and I thought we’d use up some of the now over ripe bananas in some form of banana and Milky Way chocolate creation, which seemed like a good idea until the heel of the oven caused a cake explosion, even pouring out of the oven door every time we tried to check whether it had cooked. What a mess! The final product actually tasted pretty good, even if the Milky Way did caramelise somewhat. Unfortunately I had ignored Mum’s sound advice against oven baking from her own experience of brownie disasters! Angie was a typical Mum coming to the rescue in the oven clean-up operation as I took one look at the mess and had no idea where to even start. You’ll be pleased to know that the fully dismantled oven is now cleaner than ever and back up and running.

The daily fruit and veg check ended in a game of clay pigeon shooting today, as we found yet more rotting away in the bilges. Sam’s command “Pull!” had Angie throwing fruit to Paul’s watch as they tried to hit it into the sea. We can’t get through the fresh food quick enough even though we’re eating freshly cooked meals twice a day!

Time flies and it’s time for night watches to start again. Let’s hope the elusive meteor shower that was due over the last few days will finally offer a display on one of our last few nights on the Atlantic.

With 2720 nm complete and only 333nm left to run, we’ll be in St Lucia by Monday if the wind picks back up. This phase of the adventure is nearly over and we’re excited to see land again. It’s been a journey for all of us in one way or another and we’ll be home soon to tell our salty sea dog tales.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a millennial and we never travel without communication, but I certainly can’t wait to turn my phone back on and call home.

Lots of love to all our adventure buddies, friends and family tracking us. Beth

Day Fourteen

So after expecting a meteor shower, that never came, or at least we think it didn’t! it is however quite likely that we missed it due to either the unfortunate cloud coverage, or the fact that we tried to translate the position in the sky from a book named ‘Guide to the stars from Britain’…. I wonder!

Before departure we we’re given three foam balls to practice/learn to juggle with In preparation for a competition upon arrival. I can’t help wonder if the people who decided that being at sea would provide a good opportunity to learn to juggle. Boats don’t sit still! Especially when we are being hounded by Squall after Squall for three days!

Following in the footsteps of Paul and Sharon I have decided to try my hand at some bread baking, but considering how well it has all gone so far and me being me, I’m going to attempt to make a sourdough, platted garlic bread…. I have no idea what to do or how on earth it will turn out but gary has already decided we will have Spag Bol tomorrow night for dinner, and apparently it all hinges on a good garlic bread…

We think we are now safe from Squalls but you never can tell with these things, so hopefully the amateur dramatics (we have filmed a dramatic scene on Pauls watch), clay pigeon shooting and general tom foolery will return to its heightened state and will be tamed by squalls no more. With under 200 nm left to run and challenger 4 having made some ground back, only time will tell who will become the victor this year. Truth be told we all seem to have a slight competitive edge, but frankly we will all be glad to finish this leg of the journey safely with no injuries or major drama knowing we all made his incredible voyage everything it has turned out to be. And the rum hasn’t even been poured….YET!

Bald Tom

Day Fifteen

So with less than 100 miles to go we are really excited, however we have one more watch with squalls, once the sun has risen we can relax and enjoy the next few hours. We are achieving good speed over ground averaging 10 knots. During our watch we started to discuss what we would both like to eat and drink; mine is a vodka redbull and rum and raisin ice cream, oh and of course a rum punch!

After not seeing any boats for 12 days and just 360 degree Atlantic Ocean it was a great feeling to see more and more boats heading for the finish line

Will spotted land first, both Martinique and St Lucia, it wasn’t long before we would be heading round Pigeon Island for the finish line at Rodney Bay.

Day Sixteen

27th overall and 7th in our racing class – a great achievement

But it isn’t all about the race, this trip has been about team work, making new friends, building confidence and self-esteem, and providing a great opportunity to reflect on life in general. For some on board it is a life changing experience that brings new hope and happiness.

LIFE isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass

IT’s about learning to Dance in the rain

Thanks to the awesome Gary and Sam, our brilliant watch leaders Beth and hop along Paul.

Love from Ange, Lena, Sharon, Dave, KP, Steve, Tom, Will and Yarl x

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