The crew of 12 aboard the Swan 51 includes first timers and ARC veterans

The pontoons in Las Palmas are buzzing! All spaces in the marina are full of boats with flags flapping in the breeze and approximately 220 yachts will be setting off this morning for this year’s annual trip across the Atlantic -destination St Lucia. There is loads of activity around the docks with crews frantically completing last minute jobs, stowing food and water and inevitably chatting! Last minute showers and with just the water tanks to top off we are ready.

This year we are sailing with 12 crew, including myself, Julian, as skipper and Celia as our Mate/Chef. This is my 11th ARC to St Lucia and eighth on Northern Child. It is Celia’s first. We are sailing with two watches of five, and I have volunteered Guy and Wouter, both who have sailed extensively with me before as Watch Leaders. I will introduce the two watches in the next few logs, but I have chosen them so they are a good mix of age and experience, and hopefully of compatibility!

You can follow us all the way across the Atlantic using our new GPS tracker. Follow the link and it will take you to a public access page where you can see our position using Google Earth.

Once we start sailing the tracker will take a position every 10 minutes and should not only show our position but hopefully our track as well. Read the logs and look at the tracker and you will have a pretty good idea of what we are up to.

Northern Child ARC 2008 crew

This year we are sailing with a Teddy Bear on board – kindly provided by Alex’s wife. Said Teddy Bear has now moved to the saloon and needs to be rechristened for the voyage. If any of the crew’s children are reading these logs and can come up with a suggestion, send it to and we will select the most appropriate.

The photo above shows the whole crew on the boat, ready for departure. A sense of excitement, anxiety maybe for what is to come, has settled over everyone. 20 minutes and we’re off, Next dry land will be St Lucia, 2,700 – 2,900 miles away. We have the morning to practice and then our start is at 1300 hours UTC. You will hear from us again tomorrow, hopefully from a position somewhere south of Gran Canaria after 24 hours sailing en route towards St Lucia. A bientot.”