We have arrived.

I'm sure everyone following us on SPOT or Yellowbrick are asking "Why is she stating the obvious?". The answer is because I seem to have lost 36 hours! They were not exactly lost, just very busy. Our final day at sea was a little frustrating. The noon run was the best ever, 185.7 miles but the rest of the day was a lot slowere. The wind had backed a little and, for most of the night, we were sailing towards the northern end of Martinique. As soon as John got up we gybed the mainsail. Unfortunately this blanketed the genoa, which slowed us down. The seas were quite horrible, and the weather forecast worse. We didn't want to go onto the foredeck to swap the pole to the other side because it was so rolly. Eventually, though, we did roll the genoa away and put the pole away. Crawling along the side deck, with the rail under the water as we rolled, is not my idea of fun. The wind, forecast to be 24-30 knots with gusts, barely reached 20. John was controller for the midday radio net, then we downloaded the noon fleet positions. We had been chasing down two group I boats for a few days and had managed to close the gap with Arcarius to a mere 3 miles, from about 140. Indra, however, remained stubbornly 8 miles ahead. We never did catch Arcarius, they finished at 1855 local, we crossed the line at 1922. Pitch black again, I really wanted a daytime arrival. We were met on the pontoon by friends from ARC Portugal who are on a catamaran anchored in Rodney Bay, tied up between two German charter boats (also ARC), then rushed ashore for supper. Caribbean time is 4 hours behind GMT/UT and we finally adjusted our watches a few hours out of St Lucia so I had effectively been up since 0300 local! Not surprisingly we both fell asleep very quickly at about 2300, not waking until about 0800. Now for what we didn't tell you. How is 20+ litres of seawater per hour getting into the bilge? We don't take on water in the marina. Unfortunately the bilge pump stopped working, unknown to us, and we only realised we has a problem when we could hear the water sloshing around under the floorboards. John used the manual pump immediately and that got the level down until a joint in the pipe was above water level, then it leaked air. He dug out a small electric bilge pump, extended its wires and poked it as deep as he could in to the bilge which goes down into the keel. The wires were taken back to the aft cabin and clipped on to the batteries under the berth. Success. We have been draining the bilge every three hours for the last few days. Early Sunday morning the freshwater pump stopped working. We still had water in the galley via a footpump but it bypassed the filter, but no running water in the heads. Inconvenient, but not serious. Friday evening John was on watch and fell asleep. The boat lurched and he was pitched forward, hitting his face and chin. In daylight it quickly became obvious how lucky he was, half an inch to the left and glasses and eyeball would have contacted a sharp corner. He has a bruised chin, a bruise on his shoulder (which showed the imprint of exactly which bit of wood it struck), a cut to the corner of the eye, bruising above and below the eye and a bloodshot corner of the eye. Apart from these three things all other problems have been trivial and we have now begun to rectify the problems. The freshwater pump has been replaced, a new bilge pump is partially installed, the aft heads shower drain has been reconnected and the boat is getting tidier. We are so pleased to have arrived, catching up a day and a half on Fair Encounter's crossing in 2009. A week ago we were two days behind. We have had some stunning sailing, covering huge distances, averaging much higher speeds than we expected, and most importantly, we arrived! Joyce

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