What an adventure! 19 days at sea surrounded only by water, an endless cape of grey sea reflecting the cloudy sky that accompanied the crew throughout most of the crossing.
Onboard of Gladan 6 people: Gc and his son Edward – who trusted his dad so much that came prepared with his own personal flairs and a grab bag full of enough food to survive a minimum of 6 months at sea ;)!! Salvo and Patti from Happy Island – our dear friends and experienced sailors who had already sailed with us from Sicily to Sardinia the previous year. Enzo and Andrea – two other good friends and experienced sailors.
After 19 days and a few hours, Gladan crossed the arrival line in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, on 13th December 2019, a few minutes before midnight.
Twenty minutes later, the crew was already drinking profusely. To celebrate the end of a big adventure, or to forget the fact that such a great adventure was over. They say the big blue is very addictive!
The ARC’s representatives (the so-called yellow t-shirts) were on Rodney Bay’s marina’s pier, pontoon G, waiting for Gc and the crew, ready to hand over a rum punch each, a basket full of local produce and, most importantly, a bottle of aged rum which was quickly opened and eagerly tasted.
Cigars were lit and memories of the best moments shared.
“Do you remember Gc’s face when he realised that the water maker had stopped working? It was only ‘day 2’ of the crossing and he couldn’t find the words to tell us. His face spoke more than a thousand words… We immediately knew something was not right…
We were prepared for such an event to happen and had bottles of water on board, but we were not expecting it to happen so soon!!!” – one of the crew recalled.
That day, things were looking quite gloomy on board, a moment of general panic was followed by a powerful brainstorming exercise that convinced the crew that they could fix the water maker.
Gc immediately thought the problem might be the new high-pressure pump that he had recently replaced…perhaps he hadn’t done such a good job after all!
With the precious help of Salvo and Enzo, Gc dismantled the pump and soon realised that it was actually ok…! The problem was somewhere else.
Next on the list, the electric motor. It was running very slowly. One of two things could have happened:
1) one of the windings had burnt, which would have equaled game over for the water maker, as there was no replacement on board…
2) one of the windings’ wire had short-circuited.
Further investigation revealed that the latter was the case. That was still a big problem to solve but, thanks to the highly skilled crew on board – which luckily hadn’t been selected only for their pizza-making and fishing skills, within 24 hours the copper wire had been reconstructed with a soldering kit…and Salvo’s magic touch!Voila! The water maker was working again!!
“I think the best part of the day was when we would all gather around the table at 12 noon. My dad and Enzo would download the weather forecast and the info regarding Gladan’s and the other boats’ position, the ARC team would send us daily. Armed with pen and paper we would all take notes and then start a lengthy discussion about strategy.” – It’s Edward talking this time.
Before departure, the captain, Gc, had made it clear that the main objective of the crossing was to have fun while being safe. He didn’t want to overstrain the boat and start breaking things – probably thinking of his pockets and how much it would cost him to replace broken sails and other parts :)!!
As soon as they’d receive the info about their position in the race though, the crew’s conservative approach would soon be forgotten and replaced by a ‘let’s -beat -the -hell -out of-the-other -boats’ mode!!! So much for a safe crossing!!
The competitive spirit of the crew was reflected on the results; the first few days Gladan was pushing hard and was in front of all the other cruising catamarans in her category, including bigger and sportier Catanas and Outremers.
After three days of pushing and slamming and squeaking, and after hearing of other boats retiring and breaking their sails, the crew released the accelerator and decided to take it easy, focusing on winning the fishing competition instead.
“We caught so much fish! The crazy thing was that as soon as one fishing rod would go off, within minutes the second one on the other side would start whizzing too! We wouldn’t even bother to slow the boat down, we’d set in place, and slowly start reeling the fish in, fighting with it for 15, sometimes 20 minutes” Salvo said. “It was like a party, the line would go off, the adrenaline would kick in, and Salvo would show up from nowhere, sometimes in his pants, ready to bring another one home!” – Patti added.
Before leaving Las Palmas, Gladan’s crew placed two bets with Steve and Deb and their crew from Bijoux: two bottles of 12 years old rum (the good stuff!) would go to whom would catch the first fish and whom would get the most. Gladan was the first to catch a 5 Kg mahi mahi! And that was only the beginning…!