An emotional arrival in St Lucia for Team Steamy Windows. Caylie Jeffery reports from ARC finish 21/12/06

Date of log 20 December 2006
Position Berth E17, Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia, the Caribbean

We have arrived! It took us 21 days and 8 hours to cross the Atlantic. Thank goodness it’s over but hey, what an amazing experience. The last few days of sailing seemed to take forever, and unfortunately, we had to motor for 12 hours on the last day, mainly to save us all from dying of frustration.

However, we made it, finally, and what an incredible feeling. Two and a half weeks of sailing by ourselves, and in the last 10 miles, we were suddenly in the company of four other ARC yachts approaching the finish line, having come from all different directions. The lush landscape of St Lucia was breathtaking, and as the wind started blowing from across the island, we were smothered in tropical scents of rainforest and loamy earth. It was heaven.

We rounded Pidgeon Point, and called in to say we were two miles away, and under full sail, we steamed towards the finish line, just beating the three other boats. As we approached, we noticed a number of people in dinghies had come out to see us – with our great friends from Dark and Steamy, and Whimsical amongst them.

Then the hooter went off, and we had done it. Such applause, hooting, yelling and excitement from the spectators, which made us feel absolutely ecstatic – and we hadn’t even entered the inner bay yet.

We dropped the sails and motored in towards the marina past the wonderfully colourful local fishing boats and dockside buildings. We made our way towards our allocated berth, and as we rounded the final corner, saw all our friends (must have been 25 people there) waiting for us. There was so much applause and cheering from them all, and it was so incredible to see them. I started to get very emotional, but then realized that we had to reverse into the dock with everyone watching and calling out, so for the last 10 minutes, had to concentrate once again. David did a stellar park, even lassoing a pilon with the bowline much to everyone’s delight, and we stepped off the boat into the waiting arms of all our ARC loved ones.

We were then given rum cocktails, a big basket of fruit, a bottle of rum and a lot of congratulations! David cracked open a special bottle of champers, and we settled into an evening of story telling and happiness. Of course, we had forgotten to plan food, and were ravenous upon settling down, but Whimsical provided us with a party until the wee hours, and fed us all to bursting. David fell asleep on their boat, and so we left our shattered skipper there to rest in peace. Luckily we did, as there were only three operational bunks on Steamy anyway! Poor chap woke up next day and had no idea where he was!

We have been here for three days now, and have slowed our pace down to Caribbean time. Our folks have been called and reassured, and we have spent many hours in the company of others hearing and sharing tales of our crossings.
Boats continue to come in, and we have done our best to give them all the sort of welcome we had – the later they arrive, the more people cheer them in. The emotion and glee is so apparent on every new arrival?s faces and we know that they are so relieved to be here.

So, now we are sampling the delights of St Lucia, and planning our next phase. The people here are wonderful, and we have been to some great parties, where we have sampled local cuisine, grog and entertainment – the fire dancers were particularly wonderful!

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement – we would never have had the strength to do it without that. David and I would also like to thank our crew, Simon and Carol, for their time, support and hard work – Team Steamy all the way.

The ARC people have also been wonderful and so supportive – a particular thank you to Sally Ann and Andy. Our hosts in both Las Palmas and St Lucia have also gone to huge efforts to provide us with fun, booze and entertainment, so thank you to them as well.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and a safe and happy New Year!


First Mate aboard Steamy Windows