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Although the lighter winds and flatter seas are exactly what we had hoped and prayed for for this first leg around the Colombian Cape, the lighter winds have certainly presented some challenges, especially since Paw Paw prefers 15- 20 Knots. As a result we have had the rare opportunity in the Caribbean to fly our gennaker during the day, but having to motor at night. All things considered, better option. Roy even got to put his fishing line in the water this afternoon, but no fish as yet.
The start line consisted of a committee boat in the middle of Rodney Bay and a buoy about ¼ mile directly west. Yachts would cross the start from the north, Sail south between Barrel of Beef, a rocky outcrop and the mainland to another marker at the Castries lighthouse and then out to sea. Prior to the start, yachts would jockey for position in front of the Sandals resort, the racers taking the front row and the rest of the fleet patiently waiting at the back. After all, it’s a rally not a race. With one minute to go, the race is on, with the back markers trimming sails and heading for the line. Now this is where it gets interesting. We have a large catamaran about 4 boat lengths in front of us, flying a code zero, everyone else is flying a mainsail and genoa on a beam reach. We are closing fast, yachts on our port side, and the rocks to starboard. With one boat length to go, they stop dead in the water as their halyard breaks. We squeezed by on their port side with inches to spare as the crew watched the sail plunge into the ocean. As we approached the Castries buoy, we realised we wouldn’t make the turn without a tack, along with all the other catamarans. This would ultimately place all the multihulls at the back of the fleet, heading out to sea. As we approach the buoy, who do we see in front of us again, the same catamaran. They hoisted new sails, and motored to the marker, thus gaining ground without a tack. They are to windward, on our port side, and sailing across our bow. Out goes the first shout, “hey, give us some room”. The bewildered skipper looked up, waved his hand, and headed straight for the buoy. We turned upwind, slowing the boat and made a tight turn to starboard, the other boat ran wide, making a sloppy turn. Once around the marker, the said catamaran proceeded to set a course for our bow again as we eased the sails, 5 miles down, 800 to go. Within minutes they were within a boats length of us, with all crew on deck. Out goes the second shout, “you are going to hit us, you need to alter course. We are the stand-on vessel”. And the reply, “we are the stand-on vessel as we are on autopilot “. My final reply, with only a few feet between us “you are windward of us, get out the way or else we will ram you”. So, 799 miles to go, maybe we’ll meet again.
Well, we started the World ARC Rally and are heading west. Had to motor last night as there was very little wind, but today we are sailing along at about 6.5 knots in the general direction that we're suppose to be going. All aboard got some rest and doing well.

Happy Birthday Captain Roy. What a day to remember as we head for the start line in a few minutes. Fair winds and following seas to all the WARC Rally sailors. Very emotional moment for us.

Less than 24 hours to go and today was busier than we had planned for.  Enjoyed phones calls and messages from family and friends,  received visits from cruising friends who have come to St Lucia to see us off tomorrow, attended a talk on Safety at Sea, received the Skippers Briefing, cleared out, completed all the items on our Pre-Sail Checklist including preparing the saloon bed, finished off Roy's birthday cake, made some fresh yogurt and enjoyed the WARC Farewell function. I think it's fair to say we're ready!

Busy, busy, busy - Enjoyed surprise visits from various cruising friends who have come to see us off. Had our SSB/HF radio checked and we're happy to report that it works - Well done Captain Roy for your expertise in installing it. We also completed our fresh produce provisioning and Elaine joined fellow sailors for a sextant lesson before topping off her day with a rehearsal of "Happy Birthday" on her saxophone and baking Roy's birthday cake in preparation for Saturday. Looking forward to a good night sleep!

Been a very busy day at the Palm Haven Hotel attending the Rally and Route Briefing, Weather Briefing and Downwind Sailing Seminar, topped of with the Rally Photograph and the Rodney Bay Marina Managers Welcome Party, where we enjoyed a fun evening chatting to more of the rally sailor's whom we didn't get an opportunity to meet on Monday. We also managed to get Paw Paw dressed, so she's looking bonafide!

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