I arrived today in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria...

I arrived today in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, at approximately 15h00 after leaving home at around 04h30 this morning. I have not slept since 08h30 yesterday morning, having spent the weekend in Amsterdam celebrating my girlfriend’s 30th birthday. To make matters even more interesting, Iberia airlines has lost the 250 ARC participant survey forms I was carrying, somewhere between London and Madrid. Hopefully they’ll arrive here sometime tomorrow.

The port at Muelle Deportivo, Las Palmas is already a hive of activity. Safety checks are underway, there’s victualing to be done, and a myriad other jobs. Professionally crewed boats expecting the arrival of owners and guests are busily polishing stainless and scrubbing teak, while other crews are ticking off the less superficial tasks from never ending check lists. Everywhere ARC banners are fluttering in the breeze.

Arriving at the dock, I got my first look at Spirit, my ride for the ARC. She’s been down here in Las Palmas for a few weeks already, so there isn’t much work to be done. The boat looks outstanding, inside and out, and there’s a good feeling amongst the crew. Tied up alongside is Venom, our closest competitor. Venom was an old Whitbread 60 upgraded to Volvo 60 spec to provide a sparring partner for the Tyco team.

With all but one of the 16 crew assembled, skipper Hamish Oliphant gave us a quick introduction to each other and to the boat. We have an interesting mix of people aboard, from Whitbread veterans to a young polar explorer who has done virtually no sailing. Tomorrow we will be taking Spirit out for a day of pre-start familiarisation, but right now all I can think about is sleep.