Spirit's crew are beginning to settle into a life of Caribbean bliss in St Lucia

As Spirit’s crew begin to settle into a life of Caribbean bliss ashore, they are being joined by more and more jubilant ARC participants as other ARC boats begin to trickle over the line at a steady rate. There are now 15 ARC boats tied up to the marina at Rodney Bay, but the real deluge is expected to start within a day or two. Following second placed Venom was Extra Dry, Aspiration, Liara, the catamarans Maya and Galop 1 and two Formula 1 Farr 65s, Spirit of Diana (the previous record holder) and Spirit of Minerva. It is interesting to note that, despite there being several boats ahead of the Farr 65s, we were the only boat to break Spirit of Diana’s record. So far we’re also the racing division handicap winners, but this could still change as the smaller boats come home.

The hospitality of the St Lucian’s has been phenomenal. As the line honours winners, we were treated to countless rounds at countless bars as well as food, taxi rides, and general adoration. Nothing was too much trouble. While catching a (complementary) ride in a minibus taxi, our grinning cabbie turned up the volume (even further) on his 10kW stereo during a brief respite from the pumping reggae and soca for the news. We were the first story!

Spirit’s crew have been unwinding with the same race winning focus and determination they showed during the crossing. Between dropping off laundry and drying out sails, much time has been spent debriefing over lime daquiris at Bosun’s Bar. As if 2,800 miles wasn’t enough, some crew even opted to go sailing again! A local captain, Nico, and his Beneteau 50 Karen P were enlisted for a day’s R&R, much of it spent anchored between the famous Pitons for some wonderful snorkelling and an excellent lunch of barbecued red snapper and prawns. Needless to say, Captain Nico and his first mate Carl knew the recipe for a perfect rum punch as well as they knew the coastline of their beloved St Lucia. The tired seafarers from Spirit were in capable hands on their road to recovery as they were informed and entertained by their charming hosts. It felt great to be aboard a boat and not have to do anything, and the day passed in blissful inactivity to the sounds of Bob Marley and Harry Belafonte. Visitors should take note that the local cigarettes are a lot stronger than domestic brands.

The sound of the tree frogs and the geckos starting up means soon the mozzies and no-see-ums will be out to carry me away from where I’m sitting outside bashing at my laptop. I better retreat indoors. That’s it for now. Goodnight.