Pictures from The Grenadines

The paradise do have wifi, sometimes. We are once again anchored outside Canouan, here we discovered free wifi that's accessible from our cockpit. Tomorrow we will continue to Mustique where we intend to celebrate New Years Eve together with the rich and famous, isn't that what every budget sailor do? I guess we have to wash our hair in fresh water and comb it again. We have had some lazy days since we left St. Lucia, the evidence of that can be found under "Pictures" where I have uploaded the latest photos. I hope you all enjoy the last day of this year 2009, and see you later next year. /The Captain

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Another kind of Christmas

I am one of those slaves of tradition when it comes to Christmas, but this year I somehow have managed to put aside everything about Christmas. Of course, the people here in Caribbean also celebrates Christmas, but apparently without Christmas tree and so far I haven't seen Santa Claus. Doing a sort of halfway Christmas celebration is nothing for me, I am all or nothing, so I decided to celebrate more traditional next year, and follow the chill Caribbean Christmas style this year.

Christmas Eve was celebrated on the beach together with grilled chicken and our sailor friends, simply another kind of Christmas. As a slave of Christmas tradition I am big fan of Christmas food and I really miss Grandma's, for Christmas special made meatballs, but I must admit that waking up on Christmas Day not feeling sick in your stomach due to too much eating, was rather nice. Instead of continuing eating leftovers as usually on Christmas Day, we went on a little trip to the eastern side of Bequia, called Friendship Bay. The taxi ride there was one of those interesting ones upon an open platform of a pickup. All due respect to air-conditioning, but riding a pickup is the best cooling you can get in these tropic areas where the temperature in both air and water is constantly around 30 degrees C. Friendship Bay mostly consist of a nice beach and a chill restaurant where we had ice creams while overlooking the bay.

One Christmas tradition was actually kept, the one occurring on the night of Christmas Day when all old friends who have returned back to their parent's home get together and have a catch up party. The only difference this time was the fact that the party consisted of new friends rather than old friends. I think we had as much fun as you guys back home, but I miss all my old friends very much and I send you a special greeting in this!

After having celebrated Christmas and enjoyed the chill atmosphere in Bequia, we continued further south the day after Christmas Day. We ended up at anchor outside an island called Canouan about 20 miles from Bequia, where we were warm welcomed on the VHF by the two Norwegian boats Duffen and Trollwind. Except free wifi, a stunning beach and tasty drinks, Canouan didn't have much else to offer. Consequently we had seen it all in one day and continued the next day, the day of Helena's birthday. We sailed to an island called Mayreau and anchored in Saltwhistle Bay. Mayreau is a small, beautiful island with no airport and hardly any roads making it very quiet and chill. This is a kind of paradise island where you can stroll down your own beach, climb up in a palm tree and take those typical paradise pictures: it's just wonderful out here! We celebrated Helena at the beach restaurant and had a lovely night.

Yesterday I and the crew of Safari took a walk in to the little village in Mayreau, a 20 minutes walk up and down the hills. When we arrived up on the top of the island we had a wonderful view and could see the famous Tobago Cays, an island chain we soon will visit. Our intention was to find food, fresh fruits and vegetables in the village, but since the supply ferry hadn't shown up that day, the stores were almost empty. Instead of fruits we found some restaurants and bars and among them a typical Rastafarian restaurant with a true Bob Marley feeling, where the manager looked like Bob himself. Christianity is dominant around the islands here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but Rastas can be find here and there. However, very few really practice the Rasta religion when it comes to faith, they are more focused on the other parts of the religion, as for instance music, weed and fashion. After having imbibed the Rasta spirit we continued home and later the Cantare kitchen served a tasty orange and garlic fried tuna.

Today it is another sunny, hot day in paradise and on the agenda is planning New Years Eve. What to do and what not to do? Party with the celebrities on Mustique or chilling on the boat that is the question. At the moment we think it will be some kind of combination… /First Mate

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Christmas in Paradise

Here we are, anchored among our friends, Escape and Safari also arrived yesterday. The water is turquoise and around 28 degrees, our closest neighbours are the turtles swimming around us sometimes popping their head above the water to see what we are doing. Ashore life is much slower than on St. Lucia and the people is less pushy, we like it here! Tonight we will celebrate Christmas with the other Scandinavians on the beach close by. I think it will be hard to find a proper Christmas tree and we'll probably have to be satisfied with a smaller palm tree. I will put on red nail varnish and every other red accessories I can find to get into Christmas spirit. But first I'll try to get clean, that means swimming around with the turtles for a while!

Merry Christmas to all our blog readers! We would also like to say thank you to all of our sponsors, especially the insurance company Europeiska. /The Captain

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A very Different Night

The captain and her first mate had decided to spend Christmas in Bequia, an island about 70 miles south of Rodney Bay. So we had to sail all night long to get there in time for Christmas. Having lived in a hotel room for a week, we now had to pack our things into the tiny space available on Cantare, and the boat wasn't even standing still. The whole world was suddenly rocking back and forth. It was even stranger to be standing in the cockpit during the night only dressed in shorts and a thin T-shirt, and of course, as the captain had ordered, wearing a lifejacket. Once in a while we would get water splashing into the cockpit and over us, still we felt warm. Helena took a pill against seasickness but didn't feel good enough to go down below deck. We had made up the watches, Anders was going to have the watch from 9 pm to 12 pm, then Sofia would take over until 3 am when Maria would have the boat for the rest of the trip. Something went wrong with the plan. Anders felt a bit insecure about sleeping while the boat was rocking so much, therefore his watch was stretched a bit and Sofia got to sleep until 2 am. That's when we got behind an island and the sea became smaller and we dared to go down. A while after the sunrise we stood up again, not very rested though, we were very close to Port Elizabeth on Bequia. It took some time to find a good spot among all the anchored boats, but we found one rather close to Maria's and Sofia's friends on Johanna and TimeOut. Here in the Caribbean it's more important to do all the formalities just when you arrive. Maria and Sofia took off in Volare with the ship's papers and all passports. We were left behind to watch the boat. Our skin is not yet used to the sun down here so after a while we started to look like pink pigs in paradise, which of course Maria pointed out on their return. The bimini had to be taken up and more sun lotion put on, what a hard life! /Anders and Helena (The owners)

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Goodbye St Lucia, Hello Christmas in Bequia

Position: 2200 UTC N 013° 52' W 061° 05'

We are finally out sailing again and consequently we have more time for blogging than we have ashore. This time we have even more time since we have welcomed the owners, more precisely Maria's parents, Anders and Helena. Anders, who hasn't been out sailing for a long long time, is like a child on Christmas Eve with a big smile on his face. At the moment he is steering on a reaching course and is very proud he manages to hold Cantare on an exact course, yeah, I think he's almost better than our dear wind vane Monitor at the moment. In order not to make Anders too proud, I cannot remember the last time we had such a comfortable sailing, hardly any rolling at all. I can sit down properly without having to hold on to everything, wonderful! We have been sailing down the western coast of St Lucia today and at sunset we had a fantastic view of the duelling peaks of stone, called the Pitons. Piton is also the name of the beer that we, together with rum punch sort of have over consumed the last week, giving all of us, even the captain a bad hangover. Our destination this time is Bequia, the most northern island in the Grenadines. Not only is Bequia stated as the most perfect island in the whole Grenadines by lonely planet, it is also home for Christmas celebration among us Scandinavians. Or shall I put it this way, the party moves from St Lucia to Bequia. From Rodney Bay in St Lucia to Port Elizabeth in Bequia it's around 70 Miles and we are planning on arriving there some time tomorrow morning. But before arriving it would be really nice to caught a tasty dolphin fish for Christmas. I, the fish killer onboard, have been resting a while so I'm more ready than ever for preparing a fish for the barbeque party in Bequia. Over and Out! /First Mate

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Pictures from the Atlantic

Finally, the pictures from our crossing are uploaded! You find them to the left under Pictures.

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Day (I don’t know) - A fantastic week

Since we arrived here in Rodney Bay life has been hectic with almost no time for sleep. But after our 22 days at sea that was what we longed for. Meeting our friends again, eating fresh food and of course drinking a few champagne bottles and between them cooling down with the local beer Piton. Enjoying life ashore! As you know we arrived early in the morning, an ARC-boat came out to meet us and then led the way into the marina. We got a berth next to Zahara and Ron and Larry were actually still awake. They had arrived a few hours earlier, when they heard that we were coming in around 5 am they decided to let the bed wait and stayed awake with the help of more alcohol, that’s true friendship. We got a fruit basket, local rum punch and a huge Heineken bottle, one glass in each hand we stood on the pontoon. Suddenly we had so much space to walk on, but all we did was drinking and hugging our friends. Arne on Lina 4 gave us a bottle of champagne, then he went back to his own boat and popped another one which he served us in real glasses, no plastic cups! We were overwhelmed with happiness, and after a while also more than slightly drunk. That’s what happens when you cross the Atlantic, you can ask any of the other sailors in the ARC. The last boat, a Canadian one, was due to arrive around an hour later than us, of course we went to welcome them. On our wobbly legs, we blame the land-sickness, we walked on the pontoons to the Canadian‘s berth. I think we took more steps than we’d done on the whole crossing, it felt a bit strange. The sun was getting warmer and people were becoming tired. We were too excited to feel that but decided to go to bed anyway, realizing that it would be a long night coming up with the General Managers Cocktail Party in the marina the same day. Being so used to not shower the preparing for the night was quicker than usual, a dress and a bit of makeup and we were ready. All the waxing and shaving were done on the Atlantic well in advance for our landfall. The party was in the marina, they had closed of the area around H2O, our new sailors bar, and around the small pool rum punch, beer and wine was served for free together with some food that was hard to get to because of the long queue. It was nice having so many people to talk to, lots of congratulations were made, we all made it across the pond. I had a hunch when I saw the pool and I was right, in the end lot’s of people ended up in it. So did we, some evil Norwegian through me in, but then Sofia and Emelie were already there, after three weeks together we still were not longer than six meters from each other. I think that shows what a good time we had on the Atlantic. Three girls on a small boat with a lot of Sex and the City do have effect, now we noticed a lot of good looking men and dancing was a good way to enjoy them. What happened after that? Yes you are correct, what happens in the harbours stays in the harbours, we are sailors.

The rest of the week has been terrific, costume party, street party and beach life, the water temperature here is amazingly warm, hardly cooling at all. We have also had to squeeze in a few interviews and picture takings, I guess that’s part of being one of the two all female crew yachts. We also got some attention for having such a small boat, but that’s a bit strange because a few years ago 31 foot was a standard family boat and lot’s of them have crossed the Atlantic. One day we got an email that said; Congratulations! We are pleased to advise that you have won a prize in ARC2009. Exciting! We tried to guess why, could it be our fish photo? Or the most beautiful yacht? It couldn’t be because of our sailing performance, that much we knew. We just hoped that it wasn’t something stupid like the most beautiful crew.

Last night it was time for the ARC 2009 Prizegiving. I managed to get ARC passes for my parents so they could join us. But before we went there Emelie and I had to buy new shoes, a girl that’s going on stage to receive a prize does that much better in high heels, at least if you have a matching cocktail dress. To get in a good mood we invited Ron and Larry for lunch and shared a bottle of champagne with the two gentlemen. My parents arrived just in time to take some photographs of us, Zahara and Ranja, the three smallest boats all berthed in the same slot. Then we were of to the prize giving and the farewell party. We got rum punches and mingled around in the beautiful garden. Some of the people we might not see again, at least not for a while, thinking about that made me a bit sad. But I went back to thinking like a sailor, live here and now, tomorrow is another day. After a while it was time to go into the big hall where the prize giving ceremony was going to take place. They started with prizes to the yachts that had come 2nd, 3rd and 4th in their classes. Then they went on to the more typical ARC prizes, like oldest skipper, youngest skipper (wasn’t me, but a 24 years old Polish guy), best picture, best log, youngest crew member and so on. We were eager to see what prize we would get. Andrew Bishop then announced that we had won a special prize, a picture framed and presented by the photographer Tim Wright. It was a picture of us while crossing the finish line and we got it because of “very good accounts of life at sea”. Underneath the picture it says; Best Daily Logs - ARC 2009. We walked up on the stage, matching dresses and high heels, people applaud and cheered, it felt great!

After the prize giving the party continued outside in the garden, then we went back to the marina. More party there in H2O, lot’s of beers and drinks, not very good if you combine it with almost no food. What shall we do with the drunken sailor? All three of us slept at home, our last night together, although it was a very short one. Emelie left Cantare this morning, she’s staying at a hotel for two days before going back to Sweden. We will miss her enormously but we have hope, she enjoyed life as a sailor so much that she will try to sell her house and then come back to us in March for Cuba and the trip back to Sweden. Anyone interested in buying a nice house outside Ängelholm? Special price for you!

By the way, we came on 7th place in our class of 17 boats, that’s quite alright. In total, when the finish time was corrected according to our handicaps, we ended up as number 52 in the cruising division where 158 yachts participated. We are very happy with that!

/ The Captain (Feeling like she deserves today)

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Thank you!

Thank you so much for your support and all sweet congratulations we have received! Wifi in paradise isn't that reliable, however, we are trying our best to upload pictures from our adventure and the crazy parties here in St Lucia. We hope to be able to give you more updates very soon so stay tight!

Thanks again, we love you!

/First Mate

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22 Days, 20 Hours, 17 Minutes, 2 Seconds....

WE HAVE CROSSED THE ATLANTIC OCEAN...do I need to say anymore? This morning at 05.15.58 we crossed the finish line and about half an hour later we moored in the marina and were warm welcomed by friends, ARC crew, locals and champagne bottles. The crossing took us 22 Days, 20 Hours, 17 Minutes, 2 Seconds...

//: För vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlanten, fy fan vad vi är bra!

Fy fan vad vi är bra, fy fan vad vi är bra, för vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanteeeeeen, fy fan vad vi är bra! ://

/First Mate

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Day 22 - Time to say Goodbye

Position: 1956 UTC N 014° 23' W 060° 00'

Me and the Atlantic ocean have had a love affair for about three weeks now, and it has been wonderful. But the last two days she has started to get on my nerves. We have had our fights before, but not like this. The sun, the calmness and the beautiful sunrises every morning has now been replaced with rain, irritation and dark clouds. We have now only 57,2 nM (UTC 1956) left before we reach St.Lucia and we are hoping to be in harbour early tomorrow. Perhaps it is for the best. Perhaps it is better to end the love story now, before we destroy what we once had. It feels kind of sad though. I have been seeing her every morning for 22 days now and it is going to feel strange without her. But I now that I will see her again.

Since we are hoping to arrive early tomorrow, today is all about preparations. Unfortunately we haven't really started yet. It sounded like a much funnier idea to watch some more episodes of Sex and the city. We have now only two episodes left before we have seen them all, all episodes from 6 seasons. That is a lot of Sex and the city. But right now there is only a light breeze blowing and we are doing crappy speed, so I guess we will have plenty of time left for the preparations later on today

Wish us luck!!!

Deckhand Emelie

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Day 21- Getting ready for landfall

Position: 1200 UTC N 015° 06' W 057° 15'

Normally you don't spend much time preparing for going ashore. To get the fenders and ropes ready is just a few minutes work. But nothing is normal with our next landfall. After more than three weeks at the Atlantic Ocean we are rapidly approaching land again. We have only 215 nautical miles left now, that's nothing! We did a lot of preparations before we left Las Palmas, back then our arrival was impossible to imagine. The same goes for the first days at sea, the crossing seemed to stretch into eternity. That might explain why we now have to do some landfall preparations. Where exactly in the fore cabin are the fenders? Where are the finish instructions given to us the day before we left? We saw them on the first day at sea, but since then they have disappeared. Might there be any navigational hazards close to land? It feels strange to worry about water depth again. I have found and filled out the paper that is to be handed over to the customs, the passports are where they should be, in the grabbag and I think I know where my shoes are (though I haven't seen them since Las Palmas). After this long time at sea being under sail has become the norm. In our little world the wind comes from behind and our two headsails are constantly pulled out by spinnaker poles. Coming around Pigeon Island and approaching the finish line we will most likely be close hauled, we want to finish with the sails up, doing the whole ARC without using the engine for propulsion. Therefore we need to think about taking the poles down, getting the two headsails on the same side and hoisting the mainsail for the first time.

Today we are about to take our last shower. It will probably take up most of our day, feet need to be scrubbed, unwanted body hair removed and nails shortened. Although everything will roll around on the cockpit floor I am sure that the girls will do it smiling, they are so eager to get ashore, I am reluctantly starting to look forward to is as well. Maybe Cantare starts to feel the tension, maybe she wants to stay here at the Atlantic, something is definitely going on. Since we took the DuoGen up we are forced to run he engine everyday to generate power. This morning when Emelie was about to start the engine it only sounded normal for a few second before everything went quiet, the voltage was on a critical level so we badly needed to get the engine started. Now I was really glad that I have installed the whole electrical system myself and that I did it with problem searching in mind. Four screws to loosen, then the start panel is easy to take out and I can check the backside. The fuse was blown. I changed it and we tried to start again. The new fuse blew in just a few seconds. Hmm…what might be the problem then, probably a short circuit somewhere, but how was I to find it? Since everything looked all right at the back of the start panel I put in a slightly larger fuse and told Emelie to turn the key while I was down looking at the start engine. Ah sparks, I could see sparks around one of the connection screews. Turned out that the nut was a tiny bit loose. My dad has told me many times how important it is to secure the nuts tightly. Could the problem be that easy to solve? Yes it was! After tightening the nut and putting a right size fuse in place everything was back to normal. Today's shower was back on!

But Cantare wasn't finished with us for today, when we turned on the watermaker nothing much happened. It pumped alright but there wasn't any fresh water output. I could see some air in the hose going in to the pump, I decided to circulate the system for a while, like you do when you've put in a new filter. Luckily that solved the problem. Today seems to be the day when we have to pay for our lazy days. The wind is having a nasty last-days-at-the-Atlantic celebration, we now on and off have 50 knots of wind, forcing us to constantly reef and unreef the sails.   

It is also time to put the champagne in the fridge, you can do it at home as well. Get ready to celebrate our landfall in the new world! / Have a nice Lucia Day - The Captain 

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Day 20 - Things to Look Forward to Ashore

Position: 2034 UTC N 015° 27' W 055° 52'

We are now approaching land rather quickly, at the moment we have 310 Miles left to go and soon we will be able to smell land. Until then I will share with you some things I'm really looking forward to ashore:

  • Being able to stand up still, sit down still or lay down still without having to hold on to something in order not to fall and get more bruises.
  • Having dinner at a set table without having to hold everything. Nowadays we usually eat first and drink afterwards since we only got two hands available, one for holding the plate and one for eating.
  • Speaking of food, I'm dying for fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Being able to take a bath whenever you feel like it, (and not only foot baths in our water filled cockpit). Yeah, I know, we are surrounded by water, but it's unfortunately not that easy stopping the boat and jump into the tempting water, and especially not now when we are racing against Zahara.
  • Having more square meters to use than the climbing area of 7 square meters onboard. (our bath room included in the 7)
  • Having lots of people around me and reunite with all friends that have already arrived in St Lucia! Emelie and Maria are great and I love them, but now we need to see other people and get new influences.
  • Taking off my lifejacket and try to get rid of the funny tan it has caused. A kind of tan similar to the Swedish tan called "bonnabränna".
  • Washed, fresh bedding without sweat and salt water moist.
  • Not having to use earplugs while sleeping and not be bothered by the several disturbing noises onboard, of which Maria has told you before.
  • Last, but certainly not least, cold beers!

The above mentioned are only samples, I'm sure there are more. However, despite the fact that I'm really looking forward to go ashore, the 21 days and nights we have been on the Atlantic Ocean so far have been just amazing. It feels more like we have been out for a week than the actual three weeks. Let us hope that the remaining few days will work out just as smooth as the recent have. Until we arrive in St Lucia we are practicing a little arrival song I've come up with by changing some lines in an old Swedish melody. Feel free to join us singing!

Mel: För vi har tagit studenten.

//: För vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlanten, fy fan vad vi är bra!

Fy fan vad vi är bra, fy fan vad vi är bra, för vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlanten, för vi har korsat Atlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanteeeeeen, fy fan vad vi är bra! ://

Tonight we are going to celebrate the last 48h increased speed with a glass of champagne in the sunset. I want to wish you all a very nice Lucia Weekend, and if you happened to be tired of all Christmas preparations, then take a break and have a look at hamnen.se and at the insurance company Europeiska's blog, where we have posted some updates! /Love, First Mate Sofia

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Day 19 - Important Lessons

Position: 2030 UTC N 015° 59' W 053° '38'

After nearly 3 weeks at sea I'm finally starting to get a grip of it all. Some things, like how to handle the sails and how to adjust the monitor were I expecting to learn. I have also during these weeks learned some things I never expected, but almost just as important. Therefore I would like to share them with you.

¤ It is fully normal to mistake things for what they really are. Especially when you are at night watch, and a bit tired. A star can sometimes be mistaken for a lantern. The moon rising can look like a huge boat closing in on you , and a star falling can easily look like a flare.

¤ Using a headlight is not tacky. The headlight is a great invention and very practical. Sorry dad for all the times I have made fun of you. Next time you suggest a run in the forest late at night I will definitively wear a headlight.

¤ It is fully possible to do aerobics in tiny cockpit,. Even when it is high waves and 30 0 C. You just need good music and a friend that is just as restless as you are.

¤ After just a few days you will get new and improved skills. Before I could not catch a ball with one hand even if I concentrated really hard. Now I can catch a falling egg at the same time as I balance a glass of hot water in my other hand. This while the boat rocks me back and forward.

¤ If you want to catch a fish, start doing something important. Like for example write down your position in the logbook or start to take in sail. If you want to be really sure to catch a fish, hang the hook a bit above the water and go to sleep. Don't ask me why, but they seem to like it that way.

We are now doing great speed and the sun is shining from a clear blue sky. We have managed to close in on Zahara and we are having champagne tonight. Our only problem the last 24 h is that we had to take up the DuoGen yesterday. This since it kept colliding with our Monitor, causing damage on the DuoGen. When we took up the DuoGen we discovered that Monitor's light wind vane was slightly damaged as well. We have therefore changed to the regular wind vane. After some adjustments it is now working just fine. /HUGS AND KISSES, Deckhand Emelie

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Day 18 - Pirates or friends?

Position: 1200 UTC N 016° 40' W 050° 36'

Every time we have a watch change the person leaving tells the person going on how we are doing and if anything special has happened. Nowadays the question "have you seen any other boats?" seems to produce nothing more than laughs. I was sitting behind the wheel listening to music, looking at the horizon and thinking during my afternoon watch. Although I was constantly looking out I kind of stuck to the same piece of water and sky, therefore I told myself to have a 360 degrees horizon check every ten minutes or so. The sun had just hidden behind our headsails when I started to do a serious look around thinking this is hardly necessary since here aren't any boats, haha, but it should be done anyway. There it was, I had to look again, a "real" ship, with three masts and square sails, closing in on us from behind. Their sails looked black, I thought of pirates, but then the sun emerged from the cloud above them and shone on white sails, the moment was gone. Back to reality, pirates of today uses RIBs, I called the girls up so they could see the impressive ship. We discussed where it might be heading, I guessed Antigua. As it got closer we could see that it had four masts, the aft one without square sails. We heard something on VHF channel 16, but couldn't make out more than "….sea cloud, sea cloud do you copy?." We went through the ARC-participants list but found no boat named Seacloud. Seeing no other boats around, we figured it was the big ship who tried to contact us. Knowing the limits of our VHF antenna we didn't respond immediately, but waited for them to get even closer. Then they sent a new message over the VHF, this one was loud and clear, it was a woman speaking. We responded and agreed to change to channel 68. The woman asked us very politely about our name, origin and destination. We found out that the ship was named Seacloud, rang a bell in the back of my head, and that they were bound for St. John and then Antigua. The conversation ended with her telling us "you look absolutely beautiful, good luck with the competition and bon voyage." That was it, a short friendly meeting with a pirate ship on the Atlantic ocean, our day's most interesting event.

We are doing better speed now, maybe we will be in St. Lucia on the 15th . But we have some problems with the DuoGen, it is colliding with Monitor, I have tried to fix it with results that lasts no longer than 24-hours. Today we might take it out of the water, then we will have to start the engine to generate power. Don't worry we will be fine anyway, might even make us a bit quicker with nothing dragging behind. Watch out Zahara, we will cool the champagne and celebrate if we overtake you! /The Captain

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Day 17 - Are we there yet? -No!

Position: 1200 UTC N 017° 07' W 048° 33'

Are we there yet? No, not really. Aaaaaaghhhhh, not today, but maybe in a week! It is little, but only little frustrating to think about our ETA, Estimated Time of Arrival, when lots of our friends have already finished or are about to finish in St Lucia. Yesterday at 12.00 UTC Escape, whom I think you blog readers are familiar with by now, had 79 Miles left to go, which means that they, if nothing unexpected has happened, must have finished during yesterday night. Another friend boat of ours, Go Beyond where even faster and finished yesterday morning. I want to take the opportunity to send our best regards, hugs and kisses to our friends on Escape and Go Beyond and say welcome ashore! Escape and Go Beyond, you have done such a great job, we are proud of you! But please, try not to get too excited by the rum punch that is served upon arrival, try to save some for us! However, I will not put any effort in trying to compare ourselves with the larger boats, who have greater qualifications than us. Instead I will have a look at our closer competitors, Ranja and Zahara. Both of them, and especially Zahara have chosen a more south route, while we have stuck to the more direct middle route, or let me call it the Columbus' route. The south route have offered heavier winds and consequently Ranja and Zahara have been able to cover more Miles than us. One can argue whether we should have picked a southern route, and we have had the discussions onboard. And yeah, we could also have gone a few degrees more south and let the butter melt little more before turning right. But on the other hand, a more southern route would most certainly have been a lot more rolling and uncomfortable than our journey has been so far. And when doing an Atlantic crossing in a small boat not aimed at racing in the first place, the journey should definitely be comfortable! Secondly, a more southern route maybe not only be more uncomfortable, but also more trying for the boat, and also dangerous. All of the reported boat problems, like rudder and rig damages, and even abandoning of vessels have occurred south from us. And thirdly, we haven't actually lost that much to our competitors, especially not to Zahara who have a longer way to go now, we have still huge chances to beat them! Yesterday we did 131 Miles, Ranja (the owner of a parasail) 133 Miles and Zahara 139 Miles. At the moment Zahara is 24 miles ahead of us, which is equal to about 5 hours sailing for us, close huh? We are so excited about today's position reports! Oh, may I also remind you that there are of course other boats in our division that are still behind us, and we intend on keeping it that way!

Before I am off to my watch I will give you a little short review of what happened yesterday. Maria's fictitious bithday was celebrated with party games, lip stick try outs a Johnny Depp movie and of course, her favorite chocolate cake. Yesterday was also the day I decided I could not postpone my shower any longer. No matter how suitable greasy hair is when it comes to the fact that it stays in the way you want it, there is also a point when laziness becomes filthiness, and that point you really want to avoid! Over and Out! /First Mate Sofia, who now smells like paradise!

 

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Day 16- Are you suffering from boredom?

Position: 1200 UTC N 017° 32' W 046° 35'

We have now been out at sea for 15 days, 22 hours and 12 minutes. But who is counting? It has been, and still is a great adventure. Yet I have somehow gotten really good at recognising and treating boredom. To make sure that none of you secretly suffers from this disease, I have composed a little "test yourself ". I must point out that some of the scenarios in this test is mainly for sailors. Just answer the following scenarios below with - I have never done it, or - I have done it. Good luck!

ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM BOREDOM ?

¤ It's 27o C outside and not a single cloud in the sky. Your friends are out in the cockpit tanning. You are inside cleaning the toilet, on a voluntary basis. The waves make the boat rock, and your newly organised bathroom cabinet is a mess again after just 15 minutes. Instead of getting annoyed, you think -ohh, I can do this again tomorrow then.

¤ You have filled an entire notepad with " to do lists" for the next 5 years. This despite the fact that you have no idea what you want to do tomorrow. Even less what you want to do in a year.

¤ You start experimenting with different hair removal techniques on yourself and your friends. Waxing, shaving and plucking with a pair of tweezers. Which technique works best for each body part? The fact that you will look rather funny, since the hair has different times for regrowth depending on removal technique, doesn't bother you at all.

¤ You and your friends start an association. Like you did when you were 10. The difference is that now the main priority is to make Christmas carols a bit more interesting. This by making up new nastier lyrics to old melodies. You learn the lyrics by heart and start discussing how to perform them, and what to wear.

¤ You agree to leave the fishing hook in the water during your night watch, even though you hate fishing. Then when you see the fishing rod bending, you happily put down your sudoko book and start to pull it in.

If you can say - I have done it, to more than 3 of the scenarios please contact me so we can discuss appropriate treatment.

I just want to finish off by saying - Happy birthday Maria, since it's her fiction birthday today. There will be a chocolate cake and a great movie tonight.

LOTS OF LOVE From Deckhand Emelie, who might suffer from boredom at the moment ;)

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Day 15 - Cantare Sounds

Position: 1200 UTC N 017° 58' W 044° 20'

In our little world exists no silence. When we are sailing there are always many different sounds. Most of them I would call normal sounds. The sound of breaking waves, the sound of waves colliding with Cantare, the sound of the squeaking mast and the sound of the fluttering sails are all normal sounds. As are the sounds of Monitor's vane going to a halt at its extreme, metal against metal, the creaking of the teak interior and the sound of water clonking in the water tank. Before we left for the Atlantic we added some more normal sounds. Such as the Serrano leg's banging against the mast and the swishing of the plastic wrappings surrounding our dried sausages that hang in clusters in the saloon.

When I go to bed at 9 pm I bring with me three pillows and a sheet. There are already one big cockpit cushion and a bottom sheet in the bed, these we share. I put in my earplugs, arrange the pillows and the cushion around my body, pull the sheet over my legs and hoist the lee cloth The arrangement of the pillows is extremely important. They make my body stay still although Cantare bounces around, without them it would be impossible to fall asleep. When I am happy with my sleeping position I turn off the light and shut my eyes hoping to fall asleep fast. If I fail to fall asleep fast there's the risk of hearing all the abnormal sounds. Although I have my earplugs in they have a tendency to come through. The abnormal sounds are much more annoying than the normal, mainly because it's possible to do something about them. The abnormal sounds difference from night to night. One night it could be an unwashed fork in the sink, the other night it's the baking plate colliding with the walls in the oven or it might be the sound of a water bottle that is rolling back and forth on the floor. Lying there in my bed, trying hard not to hear them, there comes a time when I start to think about getting up to silence the abnormal sound. I consider which takes the most effort, ignoring the sound even harder or getting up and then having to rearrange the pillows and my sleeping position. Most of the time I concentrate even harder on not hearing them. If you want to learn something from this, that ought to be; always listen out for the abnormal sounds before you go to bed! (But they are slippery, most of the time they don't appear before it's to late.)

Anyway I slept alright last night, although there where stronger normal sounds since the wind has picked up again! The last 24-hours we have been doing 122 nautical miles, much better. We have also past 1000 miles left and will celebrate this with bread baking and a fresh water shower. / The Captain

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Day 14 - hot, hotter, the Atlantic Ocean

Position: 1200 UTC N 018° 20' W 042° 14'

"It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes". Yeah, for every day that goes by, it is getting warmer out here. Yesterday, was extremely hot, even I, who usually am not bothered by the sun had to put on a sun hat during my mid day watch. The energy basically melted away from our bodies. Every single movement was an effort, sweat pouring down the back and water bottles quickly being emptied. Dress code out here is underwear and lifejacket, nothing else is needed. Ok, I admit that little more clothes are needed during night watches when the sun is gone. Nevertheless, the temperature is still around 25° C at nights. Before arriving in St Lucia I think we will experience nights when only wearing underwear and lifejacket will be enough. Even though the sun nowadays tends to melt us down as if we were ice creams, I won't complain. I've heard it's quite cold back home in Sweden and I really don't want to go back to winter boots, gloves and swine flue hysteria.

When the sun had cooled down a little bit yesterday we celebrated my fictitious birthday in the cockpit. It was a really nice evening containing superb fish dinner and Christmas carols. Remaking Christmas carols can be so much fun, especially when it's three crazy girls from DJ Dingelidong doing the remix. I'm full of aches in my stomach today due to all laughter, we had a wonderful time! Happy Advent Sunday! /First Mate Sofia

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Day 13 - Stronger winds please

Position: 1200 UTC N 018° 39' W 040° 23'

It's 7.30 in the morning and I'm once again sitting in the cockpit locking out over the big Atlantic ocean. Maria and Sofia are down in the saloon sleeping. The sun has just started to rise and there is only a light breeze. Right now we are slowly bobbing forward, doing 3-4 knots. A perfect morning for meditation and watching the sunrise, but not as good for the competition. We have now had three days in a row with lighter winds. If it doesn't change soon we will have to remake the very beautiful countdown calendar, that Maria draw a week ago. The calendar only extend until the 15 December. In this speed we will not arrive in St:Lucia until the 17 December. That is at least one day before they close the finish line. But we are still positive to arrive earlier. If you know some great magic tricks how to get more wind, please send us a text message.

Yesterday we at least got to have our mid Atlantic party. Since we had such great fishing luck yesterday, we could celebrate with fresh fish and a bottle of champagne. Never had fish and champagne tasted so delicious.

Today we will continue to celebrate, since it is Sofia's fiction birthday. For those of you who hasn't read our previous posts. We have made up one fiction birthday each to make the Atlantic trip more fun. This will be celebrated with a luxurious scones breakfast and some movie watching later on tonight.

Hugs and kisses from

Deckhand Emelie

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Day 12 - The killing II

Position: 1200 UTC N 019° 03' W 038° 31'

Yesterday evening I left the fishing hook dragging behind the boat, I know the girls don't like that because then we might get a fish during the night when two of us are asleep. But it was almost full moon and there is a saying that it's harder to catch fish two days before and two days after full moon, I took a chance. We had calculated that sometime during the night or early morning we would reach midway, it actually happened at 00.30 am, so I thought a Dorado would accompany the champagne nicely. One's most likely to catch fish right after sunrise or before sunset, because they hunt more actively when the water is cooler and that's the reason why I wanted to leave the hook out. Emelie has the morning watch, she woke me up at a quarter to nine telling me in an anxious voice that we had a fish. Happily I got up and tried to wake Sofia up as softly as possible, she's usually not very keen on killing fishes before she's had breakfast. I went out in the cockpit and began to haul in the fish, but when he was about ten meters from our stern I could see how he made a sideway movement and got loose. A bit sulky I checked that the hook was alright before I put it out again.

Sofia started to prepare breakfast while I decided to solve the problem with the Monitor ropes. The steering ropes was led from the wind vane through a double block to the wheel. Since the two ropes actually need different angles the double block had started to chafe the ropes badly. I had hoped we could get away with it, not having to change the ropes before we reached St. Lucia, but then Emelie noticed how bad the ropes looked and told me this morning so I had to take action. I found a spare block and led one of the ropes through it and the other one stayed in the double block, after some tampering with the placements of the blocks I managed to eliminate all chafing spots and connected Monitor to the wheel again. I was happy with today's work and went down to write today's post about how we almost caught a celebration fish.

But I hadn't written many sentences before Emelie once again told me that there was a fish on the hook. I went out and started to pull it in. Sofia got out the bag net and scooped up the fish. I asked her if we should put the hook out again or if the fish was enough for tonight's dinner (it's Sofia's dinner making day) She said put it out again, one more would be good. Sofia was still killing the first fish when the reel rattled, third time in the same day. I went back to the fishing rod and started to haul it in, but it wasn't easy. Then the fish jumped and it was huge, I thought we wouldn't be able to land it, but decided to let it stay out there for a while to get tired. Although it was far off you could see a yellow mass underneath the water. Time was flying, I had to send our position to ARC Rally Control. When I came back out Sofia had finished making the first fish ready for the fridge. I told her to take out the big fish hook that my father made for us before we left, you put it through the body of the fish to make it easier to get the fish aboard. Sofia looked sceptical and refused to also take out the cheap vodka that's bought as a mean to kill big fishes. When I managed to get the fish closer to the boat and it jumped in front of Sofia and Emelie they were rather quick to fetch the vodka. We got all excited and started discussing landing tactics. In the end Sofia agreed that the bag net was to small and put the hook through the fish's body and hauled it aboard. We all screamed as it slid down onto the cockpit floor. Then I took out the vodka and poured it into it's gills, I started jumping all over the place and we screamed even more. But in a short while he stopped moving and we just sat there awe-struck watching his beauty. Then we took out the folding rule and measured him, from head to tail he was 890 mm! Gigantic! When Sofia put the knife into the fish we realized why they say it's a bloody business to kill a Dorado, blood was all over the cockpit. Everybody (sailors) talk about making sushi out of newly caught fish, you put the raw fish in lemon juice for half an hour and then it's ready. Emelie has been in Panama and there they call it "cevice". I was a bit curious and talked the others into trying. It tasted lemon and nothing more, Emelie says we need spices to get it right and will try to fix a recipe for us. Anyway now we have enough fish for a few days, and tonight we can celebrate halfway in style. Halfway to the Caribbean! It feels great! /The Captain

If you can't see the picture go to www.worldcruising.com where it will also be published.

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Day 12 - The killing I

We are in the middle of killing a big fish so update will come later...

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Day 11 - ETA improvements

Position: 1200 UTC N 019° 27' W 036° 46'

We are now experiencing a period of light winds resulting in a striking decrease of average speed. Cantare is not a light wind boat, she is an overloaded heavy lady who needs some rough winds to drive her competitors out of the ARC race. In these light winds the competitors teasingly put up their spinnakers and parasails and quickly leave us behind. However, in heavier winds spinnakers and parasails must be taken down and they are struggling with their genoas and gennakers while the heavier winds fill our butterfly sails perfectly and we are increasing speed. To increase the speed in slack winds I have tried the hair drier a number of times, not that effective though. Unfortunately, our drier is a small one used for travelling. We need one of those more effective driers used at the hairdresser's! So now we have come up with another idea of how to improve our ETA in St Lucia: Hitchhiking with a tanker or a cargo ship. Yeah, I know we said we hadn't seen ships in ages, but yesterday morning they suddenly appeared and forced Emelie to change course and give way while Maria and I slept through the busy morning. We are also aware of the fact that large vessels normally wont follow the trade winds but taking the shortest route. So the chances of bumping into another heavy cargo ship or tanker might not be that overwhelming. But we are on the Atlantic Ocean and anything can happen! While waiting for our hitchhiking objects to arrive we try to cure restlessness in the best way we can. I am trying to learn more Spanish with the intention to be able to communicate in Spanish with more people than the bartenders. At the moment I am on the "una cerveza grande por favor"-level.* Emelie has found a sudoku book and is totally absorbed by it. Maria is going to break the world record in the category: number of books read in shortest time. Over and Out! /First Mate Sofia

PS. Our friends on the sail yacht Starfire who had rudder problem have fixed their rudder and are now continuing towards St Lucia! DS

*una cerveza grande por favor = one large beer, please = en stor stark, tack.

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Day 10 - new influences

Position: 1700 UTC N 019° 32' W 035° 19'

Yesterday was one of those fantastic days. We were doing great speed, there was not a single cloud in the sky and Cantare handled the waves perfectly. Making it a lot easier to move around in the boat. We also after several days of loneliness spotted a boat on the horizon. Not that there is something wrong with our little world, but it is always nice with some new inputs. They seamed to get closer and closer so we got curious and called them up on the VHF. It turned out that it was a Swedish/Danish family doing a one year Atlantic circuit. They were very friendly and we talked for a long while and decided to keep in touch. It's funny how we are on one of the biggest seas and still live in such a small world.

It was not only above sea level that we saw new things yesterday. Maria also spotted a whale. Unfortunately I and Sofia were down in the saloon when Maria screamed so we never got to see it. Hopefully there will be more chances later on. But I could settle with dolphins though, whales are a bit scary.

Since I'm used to things happening constantly around me back home in Sweden, at this point I start to get a bit hyper active. To get rid of some energy, I spent the whole afternoon yesterday baking bread. This is very unlike me. I hardly know how to cock an egg. Surprisingly the bread was very tasty, even if I didn't follow the receipt. I guess there is hope for me too.

We finished yesterday with some cosy and sincere girl talk in the cockpit , over a glass of water and delicious mashed potatoes. Lovely! Lots of love! /Deckhand Emelie

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Day 10 - Busy day

Since we have changed our local time we now have less time to write this post before we need to send in our position at 1400 UTC, therefore we will give you our update tonight instead.

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Day 9 - Living on the Atlantic

Position: 1200 UTC N 019° 56' W 033° 03'

Today we noticed an email that was sent to us yesterday by the ARC Rally Controll. The subject line read; Starfire rudder loss. Further we could read about how an ARC boat had diverted to assist the non-ARC boat Starfire, which is believed to be a Sadler 25 with two male crew members. We then realized that we know this boat, we met them in Las Palmas. Their yacht was to small to enter the ARC but they sneaked in on almost every event anyway. We began to think about their options, the rudder was snapped in half. Since they are further south and less west than us we figure they will go to the Cape Verdes.

What would we do if it happened to us right now? I think we would try to work something out and continue, with the double headsails we are sailing very balanced so I think we could have done it. But we all hope it will not happen. So far we have been lucky, no big problems at all. We have lost one screw that holds the DuoGen tower attached to the generator, but I found another screw in my toolbox that fitted and secured it with tape. We also have some water intake that we have to monitor and bail out with regular intervals. The water is pushed into the boat through the anchor box drain (which is under the waterline nowadays), we really can't do anything about that except eating our heavy food as quick as possible. My crew also complains a bit about the Serrano leg that bangs against the mast all night long, especially since they found out that they don't like it. I'm the only one liking the taste and I know they count the days until they are allowed to through it overboard.

Except for these minor problems everything is splendid in our little world. Cantare takes the Atlantic waves with grace, although we sometimes hold our breaths when we see big evil looking waves approach she always manages to take them in a good way. Her being heavier than normal seems to increase the stability. Monitor has been steering constantly since day 2, we use the light wind vane and have come to the conclusion that Monitor steers straighter than us without getting tired or hungry, great crew member with other words. The double headsails are fantastic, we don't have to do much with them and the fact that we can reef in a few minutes makes it possible for us to sail without preventive reefing during the nights. So far we have been doing a 24-hour average of 122 nautical miles, that exceeds my expectations, we have had winds between 5 and 12 m/s. But we do roll from side to side a lot, as some people said we would when they heard about our two headsails on the same furler. Funny though, in light winds we tend to roll more, bigger waves and a strong wind keep her steady. If I wake up and the boat rolls heavily I think wind increase, but when I pop my head out in the cockpit I realize that the wind is weaker than before and the swell that is left makes us roll. I think other boats with other sailplans roll as well, maybe a little bit less. Anyway we are glad to have a simple and non chafing (haven't found any chafe so far) solution that's easy to handle when there's only one person on watch. DuoGen keeps our batteries charged, we have almost too much power and when we don't run the watermaker it is possible to switch over from economy to normal on the fridge and keep it around 0 degrees. The watermaker works as it should, we run it every second day and then we produce around 20 litres of water. We have decided to allow ourselves a fresh water shower every Sunday, especially good for long hair that starts to transform itself into natural dreads after a few days. If we wash it once a week we might not need to shave it of when we reach St. Lucia.

We have many books left to read, a few more episodes of Sex and the City to watch, lot's of food to eat, plenty of fishhooks to loose, many waves and stars to look at and lots of time for interesting conversations. But I have started to notice some restlessness among the crew. Today we start our 10th day at the Atlantic, we are getting closer to halfway champagne, some of our friends are already halfway, but I think we will need around 3 more days. I feel no restlessness at all, but I'm the one of us that loves to read books, I like almost any book I read and get swept away in no time. If you are to fully enjoy ocean sailing I think you need to find a good way to pass time. /The Captain

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Day 8 - looking Back and Forward

Position: 1200UTC N 020° 42' W 030° 51'  

When sailing at night, having the night watch and the sailing is going just smooth, one get a lot of spare time. Yesterday night was one of those nights, the sailing was absolutely perfect, no need for any hair drier. The last 24h we have done 139 nautical Miles towards goal and 147 nautical Miles in total, that is new Cantare record! We really needed that, the competitors are picking up on us and it would be really nice arriving in St Lucia before the finishing line is closed. During my 3h watch yesterday night I didn't need to adjust neither the course nor the sails. Everything went just fine, but after having finished the book I was reading, my neck yelled painful at me to stop me from reading. Nowadays, thanks to a kind a tacky, but very useful headlamp we can read also during nights. To rest my tired neck I leaned backwards watching the stars, started thinking. Believe it or not, despite the romantic scenery I didn't start dreaming of Prince Charming. Instead I came to think about how my life looked a year ago and how different it was compare to the sailing life we are living now. Exact one year ago I was in the middle of final exams, about to finish my semester abroad at a business school in Germany. Back then life was kind of stressful, the days booked from early morning until late night, in a good way though. I am a person who likes having a busy schedule. But in those days there where also other demands and requirements one had to fulfil. One had to do this and that and pass an exam in a certain way in order to succeed. Then there were also the financial crisis still threatening round the corner, making it harder for graduates to find a job. Now I hear from lots of friends back home who are about to graduate, that it is still very hard finding a job and companies having employment freeze. So for me, postponing my graduation and taking this "year off" couldn't be more timely.

Before I was to finish my watch and hand over to Maria, I also had little time to think about the future. What will I be doing in a year from now? The future is a big topic of interest onboard. We have lots of discussions concerning what will happen to us, what choices we will make etcetera. Life is in many respects about choices. I know I want to go back to school and finish my university studies with a master's degree, but I have to choose what kind of master I would like to do and where I would like to do it. Maria and Emelie have also choices to make. Maria intends to do some more studying, maybe try the real university life and Emelie is about to start studying as well. The period of application is first somewhere in March/April so we still got time to think. However, time is ticking faster than you would want it to, and making decisions concerning your future can be much harder than you expect.

PS. For those of you curious about how the shower was yesterday I can tell it was little cold at first but afterwards you felt like a whole new person. Then for dinner the fresh fish tasted absolutely delicious. Isn't it funny how minor things like that can make ones day? Love First Mate Sofia

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Day 7 - Advent Sunday

doradoCantareCrew
Seven days, limited space, competition nerves, three girls with strong wills and personalities, and yet no huge fight. I think that´s really impressive. Of course we have had our discussions and differnt opinions, but Maria, Sofia: I still love you! One of the reasons is of course us compromising, but I think that the main reason is that we complement each other. Even though we come from a quite similar background, we have somehow along the way achieved different experiences and knowledge, both good and bad. When we put our experience and knowledge together we have a team. A really great and strong team if you ask me. For example yesterday when Maria caught a fish, everyone knew their task. Maria is the one doing the fishing most of the time, and Sofia is  the one who puts on red plastic gloves and takes care of the fish (killing is another word) after we have managed to get it into the boat. Since I´m not very keen of fishing and don´t have the heart to kill it afterwards, my very important task yesterday was to be cameraman and cheerleader. Perhaps a silly example but it is like this. We are good at different things, we are aware of it, and we don´t try to change it.
 
Today it´s Advent Sunday and we will of course do our best and celebrate it. It´s a bit hard though when it is 25 degree C outside and the sun is shining from a clear blue sky. Perhaps playing Christmas carols will do the trick. Today is also the day when we are going to take our first shower on the Atlantic crossing. Up until yesterday I was looking forward to it a lot. Now I am not so sure anymore. Believe it or not, I´m starting to like my greasy hair and my salty skin. Taking a shower here is not like taking a shower at home. It takes a little more effort. Maria and Sofia calls this change of mind, me becoming a real sailor. I hope that is true. A big thank you and lots of kisses to all of you out there who supports and believes in us. Your cheering means a lot! /Deckhand Emelie

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Day 6 - Part II - The fish

I caught a Dorado (Guldmackrill)!!! Very yellow and not to big. Perfect for the three of us. Sofia has killed him and he is in the fridge ready for tomorrows lunch. /The Captain

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Day 6 - Dark clouds at night

Friday night, movie night. Pizza, Coca Cola, popcorn and Sex and the City, what more can a girl ask for? We skipped the champagne, it didn't fit in, but Emelie said it was great anyway. For a short while we almost forgot where we were. But, then the pizza tried to leave the plate, the plate tried to leave the table and the waves did their best to support the escape. I was sitting on the door step with warm clothes on and my lifeline attached in the cockpit (I was on duty), ready to go out if anything needed to be adjusted. We had the active radar alarm on (no activity) and we took short pauses every 15 minutes to check for other boats. But the last two days we haven't seen a single boat. Monitor is very good at steering and we are not doing much with the sails, lazy sailing. What we do instead is; read, gossip, eat, sleep, run the watermaker, check where our competitors are, check the weather, try to make up the best route, sun bath and listen to music. And if we get tired of those things, we invent new things, like when we built a sun deck in the cockpit with the help of our table. I haven't been fishing yet because we have so much food aboard, but I think I'm going to start today anyway. I want to catch a big dorado before this crossing is over and with my fishing luck I better start soon. I am also waiting for the squalls. A squall is a big dark cloud with strong winds and heavy rain. The wind change is sudden, but usually the squall pass by very quick. During the day they are easy to spot, but when it's dark all clouds look like possible squalls. This morning I sat in the aft listening to music, not thinking much about the clouds starting to close in on Cantare, when there suddenly was a lightning in one of them, I became alert in an instant. I put the Ipod away, changes our course a bit, trying to avoid the cloud, and waited. Somehow I am looking forward to our first squall, or maybe I just want to know what it's like, but this night was not the night, and I am quite glad because I think I prefer them without thunder. /The Captain

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Day 5 - What really happened in Las Palmas?

Since we had too little time left for blog writing in Las Palmas, I promised you a little summary of the weeks in Las Palmas, which I will try to give you now. Maria and I arrived little earlier than Emelie and the opening of the ARC weeks in order to get as much as possible done on the boat, or that was at least our intended plan. But apparently, two girls sailing alone tend to attract attention, and a lot of people were interested in hearing our story over a drink, consequently, the first days in Las Palmas was a lot about socialization. However, we did put early alarms every day and tried to get as much work done on the boat as we could every day before socialization. It worked out pretty well even though our sleep accounts got quite overdrawn.

One of the first to welcome us in Las Palmas was HMS Gladan, the Swedish Navy ship we already met in Lisbon. HMS Gladan was moored just next to the Texaco station were we filled our fuel tanks when arriving. Two tired sailors with a broken fridge couldn't be more happy when we were invited to join them for lunch. When being abroad and meeting kind fellow people like the ones onboard HMS Gladan, you feel like home, HMS Gladan is incredible hospitable! Thanks for everything! If you would like to know more about HMS Gladan, check out their web page, www.gladanochfalken.se.

Las Palmas´ marina is huge and the best way to get around the area is to use the dinghy. Volare, our dear dinghy, was very well used in Las Palmas. Speaking of the dinghy, every year the owner of the Texaco station, Don Pedro, is organizing a dinghy race. No engine is allowed, but besides no engine, basically everything is allowed. I wouldn't say it is correct calling it a dinghy race, it is more like a dinghy war. I mean we thought we were well prepared and well armoured, having filled water balloons and everything. Apparently, we forgot the rotten eggs, tomatoes and ketchup. However, we had a great time and managed to stay in the dinghy most of the time. But I and Emelie can assure you that getting hit by an egg from close distance is not very comfortable. Both off us had bruises afterwards. After the big dinghy war Don Pedro arranged a huge barbeque for everybody to join. And now we know why the beer in his little Texaco store is ten times as expensive as the one in an ordinary grocery: in order for him to be able to finance the barbeque.

The ARC Welcome Party was a success! Lots of tapas, drinks and entertainment. The local salsa dancers made marvellous performances! Besides the huge welcome party there were cocktail parties, fancy dress party, farewell parties, dinner parties and other parties during the two weeks. Every night the, for the occasion special build ARC-bar, had happy hours and if you happened to feel like you hadn't got enough party, the Sailor's Bar was opened until late at night. Believe it or not, we weren't actually the ones who partied the most, we did put a lot focus on the upcoming Atlantic race as well!

The ARC committee didn't only give us good parties, they also provided us with interesting seminars. The seminars were inspiring and gave a lot of practical tips to our preparations. Among others we visited seminars concerning provisioning, rigging, route planning and returning to Europe.

One day our friends from Johanna and Time Out visited us. In our so called collective it is only Escape and us doing the ARC. Johanna and Time Our are also on their way over as we speak, but since they are not participating in the ARC they decided to prepare for the crossing in the little less busy and more sunny marina, Puerto de Mogan in the south of Gran Canaria As always when the collective is together we have great fun. This time Cantare hosted the welcome drink and we almost sank because of all the people onboard. Afterwards we went to a local music festival, Womad and danced salsa all night long!

Not only did Johanna and Time Out visit us, so did Maria's parents, her grandma and aunt and my parents and my sister. It felt really good having the close one supporting our departure and waving goodbye as we left. On the whole there were lots of people coming to meet us, some of our blog readers from Sweden found their way to our pontoon to say hello, that was so much fun!

For those of you planning on doing the ARC next year, I will give you a small tip. Arrive in Las Palmas a week or two earlier than the ARC-events in order to have time to finish the boat for departure and still enjoy all the fun activities around the ARC. Or maybe finish the boat before arriving in Las Palmas. We managed to get everything ready on time and still have time for parties, events and meeting new people, however, it got little stressful in the end.

Of course lots more happened during our stay in Las Palmas, but as we girls use to say: What happens at sea, stays at sea, what happens in the harbor stays in the harbor, or is being gossiped about at sea. =)

Back to life on the Atlantic Ocean, everything is going just smooth. Tonight we are going to celebrate Emelie's fictitious birthday. We have all come up with fictitious birthdays that will occur during the crossing, making the trip little funnier. Tonight I think we are going to celebrate with coca cola and some episodes of Sex and the City, we will save the champagne until later. Have a nice Advent weekend all of you! /First Mate

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Day 4 - A wet day

Today is yet another day at the sunny Atlantic. Maria is doing some navigation in the cockpit, Sofia is on watch and I'm working on my tan. We have finally gotten stronger winds and our speed is increasing again. Since last afternoon we have sailed 128 nautic Miles. That's quite good. Hopefully better than some of the other boats in the ARC at least. Unfortunately the stronger winds also means bigger waves. This morning on my watch I sat in the aft of the boat just as usual listening to some good music, looking at the stars above. All of a sudden a huge wave came and washed all over the boat, leaving me soaking wet. I guess I should be happy, since I really need a shower after four days at sea, but I wasn't expecting it like this. Since everything looked fine and we were doing great speed I just took of the wet clothes, put on my bikini and sat down again. I had just started to get dry and warm again when the next wave came. This time even bigger. So big that the water was forced down in the saloon. Not fun at all. Maria and Sofia had to spend half an hour getting the water out of the boat again. But at least the boat is clean again and so am I. We have now changed our course a bit trying to avoid the worst waves, but still some waves tend to find the way into the cockpit. I guess it's going to be dress code bikini today.

Lots of love from Deckhand Emelie

P.S Pappa jag har skrivit en översättning på svenska till dig. D.S

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Day 3 - Sunny Day in the Atlantic Ocean

Position:

Good morning everybody, it is a beautiful morning in the Atlantic Ocean. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and we have increased our speed a little! We are all starting to adopt to this kind of rolling sailing life, and yesterday we started practising our planned watch schedule. Emelie starts her watch 06.00-11.00, then I do the 11.00-16.00, Maria is on 16.00-21.00 and then the night watches start at 21.00-24.00 (Emelie) 24.00-03.00 (Sofia) and 03.00-06.00 (Maria). Deckhand Emelie is doing great, she has done the night watch all by herself now, with Maria and I taking turn about being on duty, which means sleeping fully dressed with lifejacket on, so we can get up in the cockpit as quick as possible if she would need any assistance. But so far so good, Emelie hasn't had to wake us up once, she's brilliant!

Before my watch starts I will recommend you to have a look at the ARC webpage, www.worldcruising.com, where you can find our and all of our competitors´ position, it is so exciting! Keep an eye on number 235, that is our boat number! And one more thing, before leaving Las Palmas we met Martin from the Swedish radio station, Skärgårdsradion 90,2. Martin is also sponsored by the insurance company Europeiska and on his way over the Atlantic Ocean with a boat called Thindra. He visited us in the boat and made a little radio interview and took some videos from inside Cantare and from what I have heard those clips can be found on www.hamnen.se. Now I am going on my watch with the hair drier, trying to increase our speed little. See you!

/First Mate

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Day 2 - The sixth sense

Position: 1330 UTC N 025° 57' W 019° 14'

This night I woke up for no reason, looked around the dimly lit interior and felt that something was wrong. I wasn't covered in pear so it had to be something else, but what? After a few minutes my head got clearer and I realized that the red led light beside the battery switches wasn't glowing. The red light indicates that the house batteries are being charged. I stumbled out of my bunk and went over to the resistors, which converts excess electricity to heat, but they weren't warm. This meant that DuoGen, our water generator, wasn't working. Later I found out that the propeller wasn't moving and I thought I could see a piece of rope around it, but I decided to leave the repairing till the morning light. I don't know why, but everything that goes wrong on a boat do so during the dark hours, Murphy's law. During my night watch from 3 am to 6 am I thought about how our bodies slowly get accustomed to life at sea. My hand is able to keep the warm tea in the cup although the boat keeps rocking from side to side and I'm barely awake. Most of the time I manage to get from the front of the boat to the back without bumping into everything, I stand still when the big waves rock us and walk when the small waves pass us. My ears and eyes are constantly watchful for something out of the ordinary, so are Sofia's. Emelie still needs to learn what's normal, but she is getting there slowly. This morning she played with the sails and learnt how to trim them for a smother sailing. I felt the boat rocking a bit more than normal but forced myself to stay in bed and let her learn by doing. It was worth it, later she proudly announced with a big smile that she now know much better how the sails work.

Today the wind has decreased a lot, the life aboard is easier but the speed is not as good. Sofia and Emelie are talking about taking the hair blower out and point it towards our sails. But I think they secretly enjoy the sunny life in the cockpit just as much as the prospect of a quick crossing. /The Captain

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Day 1 - Speed Record

Position: 1400 UTC N 026° 46' W 017° 14'

Today it is 13 days since I started calling Cantare my home, and I think I'm falling in love. N love with this way of living and all the wonderful and inspiring people around me. I must admit that it was with mixed feelings that I boarded the plane in Copenhagen; excited, focused and nervous all at once. But as soon as I saw Maria and Sofia at the Las Palmas airport all of my worries disappeared. I can't remember the last time I felt so warmly welcomed. Not only by Maria and Sofia but also by their new extended family and the Cantare blog readers. Now we have left Las Palmas, all of the festivities, our friends and family behind us and are heading towards our greatest adventure - the Atlantic Ocean. Right now I'm sitting in the sunny cockpit, Maria is sitting on here throne looking for competitors, the Monitor is steering and Sofia is down in the saloon sleeping. This is a wonderful day, except for me and Maria feeling a bit seasick this morning. It all started with Maria waking up covered in pear. We have stored all of our fruits in different nets and apparently we should have put the nets further away from each other. Since the cucumbers punctuated all of our pears and bananas in another net it caused a big fruit mess. Sitting in the saloon when the boat is rolling, it's hot and there are fruits everywhere is a very good idea if you want to get seasick. Tasting one of the smashed bananas is an even better idea, then you will definitely get seasick. I know because I tried it, but now after having fed the fishes I feel a lot better. Perhaps it's because of Sofia's excellent "how to puke from a boat guide". Time has now passed 1300 UTC and I'm proud to tell you that we have sailed 141 nautical miles during our first 24 hours. Hopefully we will continue just as good the following 24 hours. Lots of love, hugs and kisses from Deckhand Emelie.

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New pictures!

I have uploaded some new pictures, sadly the Internet connection here in Las Palmas is very bad and I wasn't able to upload all the intended pictures. I hope it's better in the Caribbean. Tomorrow is the day! /The Captain

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Goodbye Las Palmas, hello Atlantic Ocean

We are so excited, the race starts tomorrow and finally, almost everything is ready for take off! Maria and I were at Skipper’s briefing earlier today and got the last information concerning the race and the latest weather forecast. We also got the ranking list for the competition, there is a certain handicap system based on boat type, size, kind of sails etcetera etcetera. We are the third shortest boat and the very thinnest in the race so do you know what?! We are ranked the slowest boat, but we are not sad, just excited, now we can beat them all due to the handicap we are given. Every boat we are faster than is a victory to us! We are counting on crossing in 25 days and every day faster is another victory!

The only thing remaining now is to get this uploaded on the blog and also to try to get some photos uploaded. Unfortunately, it is harder than expected. The wifi in the marina is so bad, all sailors are facing the same problem and are very annoyed at the fact that we cannot update our blogs and do necessary internet business. At the moment I am sitting at my parent's hotel trying to upload this but the connection is soooooooo slow. Maria on the other hand is trying to upload pictures at another place. It is slow at her place too but hopefully she'll manage to get some pics uploaded, we have lots of photos we want to share with you! During the crossing we are going to update the blog with our satellite phone so you all can follow our crossing day by day. When the internet business is done we are going to have a family farewell dinner and then have an early night, tomorrow at 13.00 is the starting signal for Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2009, it is time to hit the big ocean! Mum is standing next to me here and just asked whether we are nervous, but I think Maria, Emelie and I are all just very excited, we haven't had time to get nervous....yet=)

I would also like to thank all our readers for following our blog and giving us your support! All of you mean a lot to us! Thank you! See you on the Atlantic Ocean!

PS. Don't forget to have a look at our latest guest blogging at the insurance company Europeiska's blog, you find it by clicking here. /First Mate

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Getting ready for the Crossing


Shit, it is only three days until we leave, so exciting! Life in Las Palmas is very hectic; we have hardly time to shower. =) However, it is so much fun! We have passed the ARC Security Check and are now allowed to officially cross the Atlantic Ocean with the ARC race. We have also filled up the entire boat with provision so we will hopefully survive the passage. The entire boat is loaded with things we will need for the crossing and in the Caribbean, there is hardly any space left for us. I use to sleep in the fore peak, but now we have filled the fore peak with everything, from toilet paper to our Swedish specialty “knäckebröd”, so last night I spent between my parents at their hotel. (Since I haven’t seen them in ages, it was very cozy). Last Saturday Maria’s parents arrived and yesterday my parents, my sister, Maria’s grandma and aunt arrived. It is so nice having the close ones gathered before hitting the big ocean. We haven’t seen each other in four months so this reunion is very nice. They will be standing on the pontoon waving when we are leaving on Sunday. Before leaving we will do some last preparations and enjoy the time ashore here in Las Palmas. The ARC organization has had some great events here in Las Palmas and some good parties still remain! /First Mate

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Welcome aboard Deckhand Emelie


Finally, our dear deckhand and friend Emelie has arrived! We went to the airport with our new huge flag and the dodger cover (with Cantare written on) to pick her up and we are so glad to have her here! Welcome!!! Deckhand Emelie has been well introduced to the preparations before our take off. Today she was a helping hand when changing the engine oil and afterwards Emelie was totally covered in oil.

I want to take the opportunity to apologize to our readers for not having updated our blog for days. Since we arrived in Las Palmas we have had a very busy schedule, the “what-to-do-before-leaving-Las-Palmas-list” is very long and the ARC parties, seminars and other activities also fill up the days and nights. However, we have lots of fun and we promise to give you a good review of all the funny things that have happened and will happen during this preparation weeks in Las Palmas, when we are on our way over the Atlantic Ocean, that is when we think we will have all the time in the world! /First Mate

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ARC2009 - Checked in

Today we checked in at the ARC office. We filled out a few papers, received a lot of information and booked our safety check. It will be later this afternoon. The only thing that we need to get before that is water to the grabbag, otherwise we feel prepared. I hope we get through the check without any trouble, but you never know how strict they are. We have also taken pictures for our ARC passes, which we need to wear on all the events and seminars. The ARC weeks have started! /The Captain

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hamnen.se

Now it's possible for our readers to enjoy short stories in Swedish from our life as sailors on hamnen.se The first one was published a while ago and a new one will appear there soon. Whatch out for it! /The Captain

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Hardcore Sailing to Las Palmas

Finally, we are here, we are in Las Palmas! The fact that the next step on our adventure is the Atlantic Ocean is little scary but very exciting! It is quite cool to think about how far Maria and I actually have sailed to get here, all the way from Sweden! However, when looking at the map of the world situated on the wall next to me at the Sailor’s bar here in Las Palmas, I realize the area we have covered isn’t that huge; there are certainly more places to sail to!

We left Puerto de Mogan (and the sun) yesterday morning and arrived 16 hours later in Las Palmas, which make an average speed of about 2 knots an hour. Yeah, we had day full of tacking! We rounded Maspalomas, the southeast corner of Gran Canaria and were hit by the northerly winds. Our dear old Yanmar with 12 horse powers couldn’t fight the waves we were facing, and I mean, we are sailors, and sailors sail, not run the engine. However, despite being drowned by the waves when steering, it felt really nice getting a real hardcore sailing before the take off of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers the 22nd of November.

Our first day in Las Palmas couldn’t have started better. After having done the check in, we, two tired sailors with a broken fridge, were invited to lunch onboard HMS Gladan. HMS Gladan, one of the Swedish Navy’s school ships, the one we met in Lisbon, happened to be moored next to the gas station were we filled our tanks with diesel. Thanks for a superb lunch guys! Now we have two weeks full of preparations and parties to look forward to here in Las Palmas. Maria just put up our “what-to-do-before-the-Atlantic-Ocean-list” on our bathroom door and tomorrow morning we will start by visiting a well-equipped chandlery outside Las Palmas to tick some of the things of our “what-to-buy-before-the-Atlantic-Ocean-list”. /First Mate

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Crazy Winds

We had decided to leave Las Galletas and Tenerife early Tuesday morning. The weather forecasts looked good, 4-5 beaufort from the NE. But then a guy who works on a catamaran in the harbour told us about a sirocco warning and we started to reconsider, a sirocco is a strong easterly wind which brings a haze of sand from the Sahara, it also gets very hot. In the end we took the decision to go anyway because non of the weather reports we had checked showed any sign of the sirocco. 5 am the alarm went of, one snooze later we stood up, but we were very tired. After a cup of coffee we started to look positively on life again, we’re actually very lucky not having to set the alarm most of our days and when we do it’s because we are going to sail, and we do love sailing. We waved goodbye to the guys on Johanna, they were sleepy and had decided to leave the harbour two hours later than us. There was no wind when we left and the full moon made it easy to navigate out of the harbour. As always there was a swell so it wasn’t that comfortable in the beginning, but as the day got lighter the wind started to blow from the NE and we hoisted the sails. We started with one reef in the mainsail because of the acceleration zones. It was great sailing and we couldn’t stop smiling. Then the wind continued to increase until it was steady on 7 beaufort, we furled the headsail to the second reef point and pushed forward on a close reach. The waves got bigger of course and we got some parts of them splashed into the cockpit, time to put on our foul weather gear again. When we were about midway to Puerto de Mogan, our destination on Gran Canaria, the wind changed direction and then died in a few minutes. We furled the headsail but left the mainsail up in case the wind would come back, which it did later. Now from the N and as powerful as before, this time we took to the second reef in the mainsail and still did around 6,5 knots, with a short peak on 8,20. Great sailing again! But it didn’t last that long, this time the wind changed direction to S and decreased to the predicted 4 beaufort. Ah…our arms got exercised by all the sail changes and the steering, Monitor wasn’t on duty. 5.30 pm we arrived outside Puerto de Mogan, we called the marina on the VHF, they asked if we had a booking, if not the marina was full. Escape was already at anchor outside, we joined them and five other boats, in the very nice bay. We had Johanna behind us the whole day and they arrived not long after us. Here we are again, the same Scandinavian boats. This morning we saw the small Swedish flag and the white and red hull of Inga approach the harbour, lot’s of waving and smiling, we haven’t seen them since Calais. I guess we have to stay here one more night! /The Captain

video video

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