Dispatches from the Atlantic: Land Ho

After crossing the Atlantic, Snark makes landfall in St. Lucia.

Well, we've made it. At 18:02:46 (local time), Snark crossed the line as the 72nd of 209 boats still in it to finish the 2009 ARC. Sixteen days, 9 hours, 6 minutes, and 46 seconds after crossing the starting line off the coast of Las Palmas, in the Canaries, we arrived in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. We glimpsed nearby Martinique as it emerged over the horizon about four hours earlier-the first time we had seen land in 15 days. We were given a hearty welcome and greeted by cheers and the sounding of horns as an escort of World Cruising Club staff guided us through IGY Rodney Bay Marina to our slip. As we tied up, staff members of the World Cruising Club welcomed us to the dock with glasses of rum punch and a huge Heineken the size of a champagne bottle. Club staff work round-the-clock to bring in ARC yachts, and the warm greeting they provide is certainly appreciated. What a welcome. Now, it's on to that oh-so-fun part of the trip, cleaning the boat. Snark is quite dirty after the crossing, and every one of our sails needs some sort of repair. But, after a good scrubbing and a generous dose of elbow grease, she'll be good as new. She'll stay here at IGY Rodney Bay, and be based in St. Lucia for the winter. Ben has been sailing almost continually for the last six months, and says it's time to take a break (not that I'm sure he really wants to). Though he's considering a few short jaunts between now and then, Ben plans to return around Easter for a family sailing holiday. Until then, Snark will be kept safe under the watchful eye of the dock staff at IGY Rodney Bay. In a few days, our crew will part ways. Later this week, I will fly back to New York. Dugald will fly back to London Friday night, and Ben will head out some time next week-he's not quite sure when. Dugald was going to fly out on Tuesday, but he's leaving London on Thursday for his house in British Columbia to do a little skiing at Whistler (and he's going back again in February to watch the Olympics), so he figured a little more time back home between trips would be nice. It has been an incredible adventure crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I would again like to thank Ben Little, Dugald Moore, the staff of the World Cruising Club, and everyone back home at Yachting for helping to make this all possible. Thanks to everyone who followed my blog, and be sure to check out the August issue of Yachting for a feature article on the crossing.