On day 15 the “Christmas winds” started to decrease by day 18 the wind velocity was zero! The Grateful Red was floating only 300 miles from the finish. With only enough fuel for about 50 miles of motoring and limited amount of cold beer crew morale dipped. Hard to work a midnight shift when the boat speed was two knots with a 1.5 knot current. One full moon night the crew just dropped all the sails and floated. By hook, crook and lots of irritating sailing at two knots by day 20 the Grateful Red was within 50 miles of Rodney Bay marina in St. Lucia – the finish. The last few gallons of fuel was used to motor – the Grateful Red arrived mid day of the 20th day at the finish. Successful crossing!
After a successful Gibraltar to Las Palmas sail the Grateful Red had a number of instrument issues primarily no auto pilot. Paul the instrument guru was flown to Las Palmas for onsite part change out and repair with Ken helping. With repairs ongoing the crew of Curtis, Jack and Mark arrived. In the ’09 crossing Curtis, Jack and Ken crewed the Grateful Red the 2,300 miles from Bermuda to the Azores. For the 3,000 mile return crossing from Las Palmas off the shore of Africa to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean – the earth is fatter in the middle -Mark joined the “crossing” crew. A successful safety inspection by the race committee, rounds of preparatory beverages and completed instrument upgrade the start date arrived with the boat ready. The Atlantic Rally Crossing ’11 had approximately 250 participating boats, about 10 catamarans/90 monohulls with an average boat length of 57 feet and the shortest boat was 32 feet – the Grateful Red at 40 feet was on the small size. As the Grateful Red motored out of the Las Palmas slip the throttle cable broke – boat could not be motored – a 3,000 mile sail and the Grateful Red was towed to the start line! The start was windy, crowded and a blast. For the first 15 days the winds, weather and crew were terrific. Fifteen to twenty five mile an hour winds, downwind sailing – spinnaker all day at eight plus knots, drop the spinnaker in the evening and sail reefed main at six to eight knots at night – fabulous sailing. The Grateful Red was on target for a 17 maybe 16 day crossing hopefully beating the 17 day crossing accomplished by Mr. Columbus in 1492. Life is good.
See you on the Water