As the 2013 edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is about to start Nov. 24 from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, we retrace our adventure aboard Marea, a beautiful 1977 wooden Sparkman & Stephens that participated in last year’s edition. A tale that perfectly illustrates the contrasts and emotions that a 2800-mile sailing inevitably entails, making the journey an unforgettable experience. And which you can find in full in our digital newsstand for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and all Android smartphones and tablets
Day -1. Saturday, November 24, 2012 9:03 a.m.
I had strange dreams, neither good nor bad, just rambling. Among these I lucidly recall the wish to be able to sleep in a bigger bunk; unfortunately a wish I know I cannot fulfill, at least not in the next three weeks. After a good cup of coffee just flowing from the mocha and introductions with the rest of the crew still unknown to me, I notice, as I stick my nose out of the tambugio, that there is already a lot of movement around us. As if they were copious beehives, the boats moored on our own dock filled with honey until they overflowed. The sailors look like worker bees meticulously performing their duties by loading and stowing in the lockers the galley needed for the voyage.
Everything takes place in orderly and methodical silence. All that can be heard is the sound of halyards being moved by the wind flapping insistently on the steel and carbon masts.
I am the only person who remains motionless, forced to listen to a crash course in deep-sea navigation and safety on board. I arrive last on the Tide, and now I must work quickly so that I can pick up the pace as soon as possible and join the silent chorus. Mind you, you can’t go wrong; every time you use your life jacket, remember to arm the GPS device–then when you take it off, disarm it that way? If you move on the deck at night, the carabiner should always be clipped onto the life line…. In case of using the life raft, it is essential to jump into the water and not climb on it directly from the boat… Fortunately, my memory is still fresh from teaching. Everything I had studied a few months earlier about safety on board for the boating license exam comes flooding back without too many complications. I look at the horizon and reflect on what to expect from this experience. I consider myself ready, feeling content.
Day 1. Sunday, November 25, 2012
11:31 a.m. The exit from the harbor is exciting, hundreds of people have gathered on piers and docks to witness the big event. The band plays a cheerful triumphal march for us. (…) Someone blares the Ride of the Valkyries overriding every other noise in the harbor. We are already heroes before we can even try to become one; we leave as if we are returning victorious from a war. Everyone cheers us on. I look around ecstatically and feel alive.
Day 2. MondayNovember 26, 2012
12:11 p.m. Arturo, a Neapolitan sailor with 32 years of navy experience on his shoulders, opens the tambugio and orders everyone in an adamant tone to get on deck. No one bats an eye, and like soldiers we launch ourselves onto the deck in seconds, ready to receive instructions. The sea has grown considerably and the wind is gusting up to 45 knots. Is an impressive panorama. Waves of five to six meters prevent us from proceeding and maintaining our intended course. The air is hazy, and the whole sea looks as if it were a snow-covered field. The noise caused by the wind is fractious to such an extent that it prevents us from hearing our own thoughts. It is instinct that dominates our minds, that controls our movements.
The full version of Marea, The Logbook,” can be found by downloading it in our app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and also for all smartphones and tablets using the Android operating system