First report from Mike Stevenson on the eve of his first Atlantic crossing aboard his Bavaria 38 Sanuk

Having spent most of his life working in the oil business and travelling extensively, Mike Stevenson decided it was time to settle down. And the best way to do this was to buy a boat and go off cruising!

He decided on a Bavaria 38 after seeing the boat at the 2002 Southampton Boat Show and took delivery of Sanuk in March this year. Mike’s previous experience is limited to dinghy sailing as a kid and sailing on friends’ boats. Sanuk is his first boat, and the ARC will be his first crossing. The ARC was central to his plans from the outset. He liked the idea of the added security of sailing in a large group, and benefiting from all the knowledge of the more experienced sailors he’d meet. “There’s somebody looking over my shoulder, and the social side is good.” You can look over Mike’s shoulder as we get regular reports his Atlantic crossing with his son Jonathan and daughter Rhiannon. “I’d like to go all the way around,” he says, “But we’ll see how this trip goes.”

Report 1

D Day minus one. At last we have managed to get the boat shipshape and ready for sea. It is a relief to get all food stored and pre-cooked meals for the first few days prepared. Decided that our plan to be an essentially dry boat was a bit extreme and loaded a couple of cases of beer.

Major drama on the crew front as Rhiannon decided that she wouldn’t do the trip after all. So we are back to a crew of three which, as that was the original plan, should be OK. More room, but it does mean each of us will have to spend more time on watch.

The final briefing today covered the procedures for starting and finishing, a weather forecast, and the communication routines with the ARC office in Cowes. We had a blustery Force 6 this afternoon which will cause the swell to get up. The Azores High is drifting slowly south and that should trigger the trade winds which are what this route has been all about since the time of Columbus.

Now the butterflies are getting more active as it all gets real and serious. The party is over. I wonder if I will sleep tonight.