A Liv(ely) update – 9 days into the ARC!

The crew on board S/Y Liv has now spent a little over a week at sea on the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) and it’s been a rough journey with challenging conditions. Here is an update from the crew (for daily updates head over to LivSailing on Facebook)!

Day 5: Not the best of days…

During the night we got a lot more wind than expected, over 25 knots.

At 02.30 we hear a crack, it’s our spinnaker pole – we used it on to hold out the Genoa. When we finally get the broken pole down and roll in the head sail, which had twisted itself like an hourglass around the forestay we only got an hour of downtime before we felt it was time to take a second reef in the main. Safe to say no one really got any rest that night.

In the morning the wind died down and instead we got hit with really strange swell from all directions. There were a lot of us that were involuntarily feeding the fishes over the side of the boat! We also managed to mend the boom, it is now 125 cm shorter, but a short boom is better than no boom.

Day 6: A wonderful day with some recovery

Today we had slightly more pressure than yesterday, so the boat got some power through the waves which made the ride a lot more comfortable.

After the rough day yesterday, the crew really got the chance to recover and mentally prepare for the days to come. And how better to prepare than with good food? On the menu was pancakes for breakfast, toast and banana smoothie for lunch and meatballs and mash for dinner – 10/10!

Most days since we left Gran Canaria we have been joined by dolphins at sunset, but today the joined us already at lunch (perhaps they like smoothies too)! It was the biggest pod of dolphins we have seen on the journey so far – it was like they felt we needed a boost in morale!

Day 7: Getting sea legs

Now that we’ve been at sea for a week most of us have gotten used to the sea state. The kids take initiative, get up to all sorts of things and don’t feel sea sick at all. They have even started using each other’s cellphones to play games they don’t have on their own (this would never happen on land)!

So the plan was to rest, but mother nature had other plans: we had another rough night between Saturday and Sunday due to a lack of wind and an abundance of swell. Luckily we have each other, and today it was Alma that saved the day! She made brownies which instantly increased the mood onboard. We are still not sure how she managed to pull it off given the gas oven onboard which is quite tricky to bake in.

According to the forecast we will have a lot of wind all the way to St Lucia. We feel confident that the boat can handle it, but we have to be honest – we are a bit worried about the crew, even though chances are we would hate having no wind even more. To see the current sea state and weather conditions follow our tracker!

Day 8: A lot of wind and big waves

Today the wind arrived with a vengeance, and we got a taste of what is to come. We passed a few squalls which brought the wind speeds of over 30 knots. The boat was moving like a missile with two reefs in the main and a jib.

With the wind also came the waves: 3-4 metre swells from different directions (NW and SW). It was really tricky to navigate and after a while we ended up taking down the jib to sail bareheaded. Probably it would have been better to do the opposite and sail with only the jib – but no one felt keen to do that sail shift. The wind will diminish somewhat tonight, and whilst tomorrow will still be windy, we will have less wind than today.

With that said we are moving a lot slower than we could, Liv is a fast boat, but we are being safe rather than sorry not wanting to push the crew too much. It is hard to lead a “normal” life onboard and to cook, play games and entertain ourselves like we normally would. But it is nothing a good night’s sleep won’t solve.

Day 9: We are OK!

Yesterday was a real struggle. Dealing with 25-30 knots of wind is ok, but it is the swell that is giving us the most trouble. Today was easier: we still had a lot of wind, 20-25 knots, but we are somehow getting used to it and the waves have been less ferocious. We changed our sail configuration which also probably helped.

Everyone on board is in a lot better mood today – possibly because no one is seasick and because the sun has been shining all day. We also got a mail with encouraging comments from friends and loved ones at home, we read it out loud in the cockpit and it was really appreciated by the entire crew. THANK YOU!

We got two new companions today: for hours we had two large shadows swimming just below the surface next to the boat. When we first saw them we thought dolphins, but they never came to the surface. It was just two gray shadows below the surface. We are thinking it could be tuna, but from the shape it looked more like a shark.

If yesterday was about survival, today was a fixer day. We changed sails and took down the main and hoisted the jib. We also checked the autopilot and greased a part of the rudder which has been squeaking since Dunkerque (we had it checked with Lewmar, it is fine, it just needed some TLC).

We were also able to cook again properly and from the galley came pasta pesto with olives for lunch and and a sausage stew for dinner! Yay for food!

Tomorrow is day 10, and in celebration pastry chef Alma has promised to make a chocolate cake!

Written by Hanna Ericksson


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