Lynn Grano with latest ARC news from Eleutheria

Date 27 November 2005

Position North Atlantic / Lat. 15.41.50 N; 24.05.20 W

We’ve gone much further south than any of our original plans called for. Today, we’re bisecting through the Cabo Verde Islands enroute to a latitude as south as 11 to 13 N. before we start our westing in earnest.

From what we can tell of the ARC Race Group B radio positions, we’re probably near the front of the pack, that is, if we haven’t made a serious miscalculation with our revised too-southerly route. The rationale for the change was simple. Tropical Storm Delta was projected to linger in our more direct westward path and we had little interest in beating into the back end of cyclonic winds. Equally important, the normally dependable tradewinds have all but disappeared and given that it’s unclear from not only our own weather analysis but also from at least two professional routing planners that we’re privy to when those winds will be re-established.

While no clear consensus has emerged, our hope is that what we suffer in distance by our great southern arc strategy, we might subsequently aquit ourselves with via speed (alternatively, we’ve heard St Helena is lovely this time of year). We were going to stop over in Cabo Verde for fuel, but over the last few days we’ve gotten a sufficiently decent push from the winds to delude ourselves that we won’t be motoring half way across the ocean in executing our southward sling-shot strategy.

As for wildlife or other boats, we’ve seen little, but for the occasional flying fish that ends up on our deck. We’ve had four strikes on the fishing pole using basic squid lures, but so far, our imagined large tuna or marlin has proved elusive and evaded our trap before we could reel the beast in.

Our biggest complaint is that during the last five days, our entire crew has been stricken with a nasty respiratory malady, rendering the onboard ambience something like a Carnival Cruise Lines Package Tour for tuberculosis and/or lung cancer patients, wheezing, phlegming, hacking, and dry-coughing our way across the Atlantic, all without a ship-board casino to take the edge off? at least the culinary buffet line off the galley has stayed open at all hours.

Our only other issue of minor concern, is that we neglected to carry detailed pilot charts for this area of Cabo Verde, and several other boats have commented on the radio that our position is rather close to possible volcanic activity, we presume from the large Mount Comera, with its Cha Das Caldeira. That settles matters, tonight we leave the bimini up to protect us from any wayward spewed volcanic rocks.