How do people successfully cross the Atlantic? By a lot of planning, preparation, tenacity, and endurance. It’s not for everyone but the feeling of crossing the finish line after 19 days of being at sea is something very special.
Atlantic crossing day 19 –Today is the big day! We’re going to see land
Around 6 am in the morning I overhead Simon and Murray shout, ‘Land Ahoy!’
All of us jumped up into the cockpit and took our first gaze upon a hazy green mass of land off our port side bow. We all yelled, ‘woo-hoo’ and felt the excitement in the air.
After enjoying a cup of tea I decided to start cleaning in preparation for our arrival. I was so excited I needed something to distract me from watching the ETA (estimated time of arrival). I couldn’t believe that we had only hours to go.
Our daughter Sienna became overexcited and started driving us all nuts.
It was a case of too much energy and no way to allow it to flow. Fortunately, Eve offered to watch a movie with Sienna and that allowed both girls to bide time until arrival.
I cleaned our bathroom, started to work on the mess between our bed and the sofa – over the course of our journey the area filled in like a skip/dumpster. Anyone viewing our room for the first time wouldn’t realize that there was a walkway along the side of the bed nor would they see a sofa!
Once our room was tidy I started in the kitchen. With so many people cooking and cleaning all the pots, pans and kitchen accessories were in the wrong place. We had one cupboard that when opened it wasn’t a question of whether something would fall out or not – it was more of a question as to how much would fall!
While sailing along St Lucia heading for our Rodney Bay Marina destination, we heard boats in front of us call the ARC finish line on the VHF. Our excitement grew and grew as we knew our VHF call was imminent. We rounded the top of St Lucia, called the finish line and prepared our sails for a change. We had to bring the staysail down, remove the pole, bring the genoa in, remove the pole and then put the genoa back out and raise the main.
Our sail change went without a hitch.
To successfully cross the Atlantic you need good sail changes! I couldn’t help but think, ‘it’s official, we finally know what we’re doing to a competent level and we’re quick.’ I also thought that it was a shame the trip was ending.
It felt as if we finally had the sail set-up down to a science.
With the finish line in sight, we did the sail change while posing for the photographer. Most of the crew had beers in their hands and stood on the foredeck as we crossed the line. I could finally say, ‘WE MADE IT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!’
For the past several years I’ve found it difficult to get excited about anything. I was excited about getting the boat and all our adventures but I didn’t have any particular moment that brought absolute excitement…until we crossed that finish line. With my stomach full of butterflies and tingles we prepared the boat and made ready to enter the marina.
The rum punch, fruit basket and many of the friends we met in Las Palmas were in sight!
Simon backed the boat in perfectly while friends clapped on our arrival – we had lines going astern to the jetty and along the port side. No more slime lines now that we’re in the Caribbean. (Slime lines are ropes anchored in front of the bow that acts as an anchor that you wrap around the forward cleats. They’re usually very dirty, smelly and full of barnacles that cut your hands!) To successfully cross the Atlantic you have to make it to the other side and we did!
We immediately received our rum punch (Sienna got a juice) and fruit basket. And many of our friends came up to greet us and ask us how things went. The buzz was incredible. We all swapped stories – did you break anything? How did your seasickness go? Did your child/children do okay? How many fish did you catch? Did you use your engine? And on and on it went.
By the time we were tied up the marina was so flat, I didn’t feel any need to go running off to touch land.
After an hour of socializing, and congratulating others for successfully crossing the Atlantic, we started to clean and get rid of the rubbish/trash. As the day progressed more boats came in and everyone cheered. Around 2 am we all stopped what we were doing and went out for lunch. I had a chicken roti and it was the best darn chicken roti I’ve ever had. I also had a nice cold Sprite – I can’t tell you how amazing it tasted! First of all, it was cold. Second of all, it was something other than milk, water or apple juice!
So…how do I rate my Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) Atlantic Ocean crossing?
Although I was down for several days, I have to give it a 10 out of 10. The easiest way to equate my experience regarding my sickness is to say that like child labor, once it’s over you seem to forget how bad it was.
The ARC people have been amazing. The crew was exceptional. The journey was monumental and looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I keep saying this often – this journey will definitely go in my top 10 of life experiences. I’m so proud of my family, crew and me for making it happen.
Now it’s time to recover, enjoy some rum and figure out what’s next…