We have been here on Martinique for 3 days for one sole purpose: to get Kincsem back in top shape. We had a number of major breakdowns in the ARC: first, the watermaker started leaking, then the autopilot gave out, then the mizzen furling motor broke. We managed to keep going in the rally but these things need to get fixed. I’ve never been to Le Marin in Martinique but had heard that it’s a miniature La Rochelle: all you need for your Amel just 25 miles from St Lucia. There is an Amel base which told us that they had the mizzen furling motor in stock and could install it. They also told us that they could install the end caps and interconnection tubes for the watermaker which I had received from Dessalator in the Netherlands. And then there is a base here of Pochon, the provider of all things electrical and electronic to Amel. They said that they would try to fix the autopilot. So we sailed here last Sunday to get this all done this week.
The reality has been a little less positive. Pochon has been working on the autopilot for two days and on the afternoon of the second day – after some prodding from me to call Pochon La Rochelle - finally found the problem: they need to replace a part on the hydraulic pump that has to be ordered. Amel has in fact replaced the furling motor but they now advise that they will likely break some high pressure hoses when taking the watermaker apart and they need to order those hoses. So it appears that we will need to come back here in January for a few days to get everything completely done. Well, no great hardship. The sun will be shining …..
The last few days of the ARC were amazing sailing. On the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December, we covered 220, 225 and 206 nautical miles, respectively – an average speed of 9.2, 9.4 and 8.6 knots! These are new records for Kincsem and we worked hard to achieve them. There were a lot of sail changes to get the best out of the boat and sleeping was a bit difficult, not just because of the high air temperatures in the boat …..
Roaring along under double headsails and main
Two of quite a few boats we saw and overtook during the crossing
Daniel enjoying the air flow from the fan in the skipper’s berth; Kincsem needs more fans .....
Advent celebrations with raisin bread baked by Almut and her self made calendar
We first saw land at 1240 on the 6th but the wind and currents turned weird on us so it took a long time to get to the finish line on the Northwest corner of St Lucia. We finally crossed the line at 1700 sharp local time St Lucia. As we crossed the line as the 34th ARC boat, the sun was setting and a rainbow formed to the East!
Stowing away the double poles
The finish line!
Achim and the rest of the crew getting the fenders and docklines out for the first time in a long time!
The welcome in the marina was also quite amazing. Lots of boats blew their horns, the ARC yellow shirts took our lines and immediately served us rum drinks! Luckily, we were right on time for Happy Hour at 1730!
We covered 3237 nautical miles in 17 days, 8 hours, at an average speed of 7.9 knots. This includes 13 hours 41 minutes of motoring at a speed of 6.2 knots. Not bad for a cruising boat! It seems the crew of Kincsem got into the regatta spirit!
The crew under the old Kincsem battle flag!
The days since finishing have been a bit of a blur with entry formalities, welcoming other boats and clearing up the boat but one of the highlights was the welcome party last Friday at the St Lucia golf club. The rum drinks were flowing, the exotic dancers were dancing, the steel band was playing, you get the drift! We and the crews of several other boats afterwards checked out the Rodney Bay street party, which apparently happens every Friday – amazing!
Another highlight was a tour of St Lucia which cruise director Achim organized and executed perfectly!
In the rain forest!
Our plan is now to get back to St Lucia by Thursday for a few more parties before the prize giving on Saturday and our flights home on Sunday for some well deserved rest!