Our 2002 Hylas 46

Thursday, November 3, 2016

ARC1500 Rally Preparations

Over the course of the next few days more and more participating rally boats arrived. In the end we will be 35 sailboats all leaving November 6th for the British Virgin Islands. The largest boat is a 63' and the smallest a 35'. The owners and crews are a delightful bunch!

The crews of the three Montreal boats - Maryse is our photographer
By Oct 30th the seminars and events were in full swing – the docks were buzzing with activity as folks prepared their boats for the trip south. 

Downwind sailing seminar with Andy
Each evening was a social activity and Halloween was perfectly timed for everyone to dress up and enjoy a great evening put on by the City of Portsmouth and the marina for us.

The whole gang!
Caffe Latte

It was really hard to close off my To Do list when each seminar we attended, had some fantastic new way of improving Ambition or a much better way to do something .

When it came time for Ambition to submit to a full 2 hour safety inspection – I was very concerned that they would identify elements that I had either overlooked or things that I had not considered. I had been attacking the safety list for 3 months off and on – I was very nervous. You can imagine how delighted I was when we had no issues found and only a few suggestions that would help us.  Maryse and I were thrilled to pass at 100%.

We are joined in Portsmouth by a long time business and sailing friend – Jean Belanger who will crew with Maryse and I for the trip to the British Virgin Islands. Jean adds to the experience on board and it will certainly help with extend our rest periods on the overnight watches – having 5 or 6 hours of continuous sleep is so much better than just 3 when it s only Maryse and I on board.  Having and extra set of hands is also a plus as we finish off the last details on board the boat. Welcome aboard Jean!

One of the events on our daily sheet was “Styles By Jake” – he was raising funds for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Rally organizers were matching our contributions. So Jake was going to offer free haircuts if you made a contribution to the foundation.  A few days prior to the event I kind of asked Jake what kind of haircutting experience he was bringing to the event. With a big smile he responded – NONE  - this would be a first!  As the deadline to join in arrived I decided to take the bait – made my contribution – got my morning Mimosa and bravely took the seat. I never had imagined I would ever hear myself tell a barber – ‘Give me a #3 clipper cut – ALL OVER!”  On the plus side – I no longer spend an hour every morning getting my wisps of hair in order – I fact, I don’t even have to brush it!

Dave would only sign up for a little trim! 
Even the women got in on the fun!
Before .....
The hair is flying in the wind....
Final touch!!!
Jake is proud and I feel the wind on my head so much better now!
Earned my Mimosa!

Each day more seminars, more little changes to make on the boat, more things to check and validate – oil changes in the transmission,  generator and engine – boy that always turns oit to be such a dirty task – getting old oil everywhere! The entire marina is buzzing with activity. Each boat is taking apart things, putting them back together – repacking lockers and stowing food.

A Dock
B Dock

By Thursday Nov 3rd  night, the to do list is empty except of the final pre-departure items that we will take care of on Friday and Saturday. One more trip up the mast to complete my final inspection of everything aloft – it really makes Maryse nervous to winch me up 64 feet above the boat. The view is pretty special from up there though!

Ambition - looking good

We are all getting very anxious to get going south. Each morning is a weather monitoring as we look to Sunday departure time - so for the weather window will be perfect for us - depart with a NW or N wind for three days to help us get across the gulf stream quickly as we head south and the SE towards Bermuda. This will get us far enough east so that when the north winds fade out and the easterly trade winds arrive we will be able to turn south and have the wind on our side which is both fast and comfortable. Couldn't ask for a better weather pattern! LETS GET GOING!


  1. Excited to hear about your upcoming adventure! What fun! We are disappointed that you will be blowing passed Savannah, but we will be tracking your progress and sending positive thoughts and steady winds!

    Just had a Dave and. I held here for a couple days on their way down to Jacksonville where they will haul out for a couple months. The plan is to return in mid January and continue south to the Key Biscayne Bay Area.

    Three more sailboats from Treadwell Bay are heading this way no may stop.

    Hugs to you and Maryse!
    Suzy and Bob

  2. That's Dave and Michele Donaldson... I hate autocorrect!!!
    Happy sails to you!⛵️😎⛵️