Atlantic crossing here we come!

So it’s an hour before we leave the marina. The kids have all said goodbye to each other and had our last photos.

Goodbye Grandad, thank you for seeing us off!

If you want to track our progress across the Atlantic (as there will be no blog until I am back on WiFi on land in 3 weeks…) then please use the YB tracker (free App) and click on the ARC race. Search for Kathryn del Fuego under teams. Or click on the fleet map, we are a white/grey-ish yacht symbol…. Instructions in the photo below under Finish Information!

Paul enjoying the start!

Final preparations for the Atlantic crossing and time to paint the rocks!

Whilst still being busy with an endless list of things to sort, check or do on the boat, the end is very nearly in sight and we made time to join the tradition of painting the rocks in Las Palmas marina with our boat emblem.

The boys painted their own dolphins and we joined up with our friends aboard Pearl and Pacific Pearl to have a painting party and BBQ on the sea wall. The children had a hoot.

One last full nights sleep before we are off tomorrow and the next 18+ days of sailing and shift patterns. Huge amazing thanks to Paul Grundy for kindly joining us on the Atlantic crossing to share the fun, shifts and adventure! (Even bigger thanks to Jo and family for letting him join us for a bit 😊⚓️⛵️🙏). And big thanks for Mac (Grandad) being here to see us off and help with the children whilst we have sorted everything this week. It’s been fantastic.

Time for an early night.

Safety demonstrations and how to use a sextant

We were treated to full air/sea rescue demonstration in the harbour followed by a pool session of inflating and climbing into a life raft. The children all loved watching the helicopter dropping a person onto a yacht and seeing flares let off.

Also they all got to have fun climbing in and jumping out of a life raft in the pool. Great fun on a sunny day. Let’s hope we never have to do this though!

Then it was time for Paul and I to learn how to set up a sextant and take readings for navigation. Something we hope to be expert in by the time we arrive in St. Lucia. Although we hope the GPS continues to work and no one turns any of the satellites off!!

Provisioning for the Atlantic

How much can you fit on a boat? I seem to have bought half of Hipodino, thank goodness they deliver right to the pontoon. I’ve managed to sort everything in a spreadsheet 😎 with a rough meal plan for three weeks+. The hardest part was doing a full stock take to work out exactly what we have on board and precisely where!

I’ve been to the local market which was fantastic, as apparently it’s best to buy fruit and vegetables that haven’t been refrigerated if you want them to last as long as possible (when you have limited fridge space). Martin’s stall is going to deliver our boat, and the meat order is arriving vacuum packed and at -20 degrees to the boat too. Now I just need to find space for it all….

Paul has joined us a crew at a perfect time to help with the last minute preparations. Russell and Paul did a great job washing all the fruit and veg in Milton on the pontoon and we managed not to drop anything transferring to the boat.

Then there is the small matter of cooking it all whilst the kitchen is moving at all angles….

Countdown till our Atlantic crossing…

So it’s the final week before we set sail across the Atlantic to St.Lucia, nerves are kicking in now and boat preparation has moved into overdrive. To be fair we’ve been preparing the boat for the last year for this, so we are practically there. Russell has done a fabulous job and in particular with all the safety kit, so much so that on our safety inspection by the ARC officials they stated it was the best prepared boat they’d seen! Phew!

We’ve been attending the ARC seminars and meeting other crews and family boats. There are 50 children crossing in the ARC Rally and we are moored on the family pontoon, so the children are having a riot running from boat to boat and all playing together whatever the language. There is even a kids club in the morning so us parents can get some work, seminars and provisioning done in peace! Thank you ARC organisers, it’s a life saver.

On Sunday we took part in the ARC parade around the marina with everyone walking with their countries flags and a local band playing. All great fun. Crews are starting to arrive now and it’s great to meet new folk and have even more people in the party atmosphere.

There are a great series of parties, sundowners after a day of safety briefings, weather, Atlantic night sky, navigation and downwind sailing tips. The boys are having a ball…

The Canaries

We’ve had an amazing two months cruising the Canary Islands from Graciosa, Lanzarote to Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

We’ve met up again with our friends aboard Oyster Moon and the children had a great week playing together at an anchorage.

We also caught up with friends from home in half term week, fabulous to see Dom, Katy, beautiful Jessie and our gorgeous godson Jasper.

We enjoyed visiting water parks and zoos with them and hiking up to see the famous Nublo rock in the mountains.

Jasper, not yet two, had a go as skipper on a day sail and Katy and Jessie had a great time on the spinnaker boom swing.

We’ve even had our first night out without the boys in 6 months as Katy and Dom babysat 😇😍🥂🍾. We’ve celebrated the boys birthdays and had my sister, Aunty Anne out to visit. Little did she know that she’d be roped into helping sort/bake our way through hosting a double birthday party on board. Who says you need acres of space for a childs birthday party!!

It was lovely to see family and to receive all the goodies from home. Thank you everyone for being so thoughtful and generous. The boys were over the moon with their birthday gifts which will see them fully occupied across the Atlantic. Sarah – the painting and art goodies are amazing. The boys are fascinated by it all and are drawing and painting away.

We’ve been hosted by the Ocean Cruising Club, and met fellow OCC members at the most wonderful BBQ in Agustín’s house. Thank you Agustín, for sorting a diver for the boat and helping with dentist appointments too, you’re the best port officer ever! From Porsito Blanco we sailed north into 30kts of wind to Las Palmas were we continue our preparations for the Atlantic crossing.

Birthdays, water parks and exploring the Canaries.

It’s been a great month of exploring more volcanic islands, including our first aqua volcano (half submerged cone of a volcano creating a unique green lagoon). We’ve hiked, cycled and gone to ‘Europe’s’ largest water park and also an amazing zoo. All great birthday treats for the boys as we have some land time fun for a change.

A fabulous time and the weather is entirely dependent on which end of the islands you are at!

You can never have too much birthday cake!