The final preparations were in full swing yesterday and almost every mast in the fleet seemed to have a crew member perched in it, fixing anti-chafe materials and checking fittings. At lunchtime we had the Skippers' Briefing, which included the latest weather forecast from weather guru Chris Tibbs.
The news Chris shared wasn't good. Once again the weather isn't doing what it normally does here at this time of year so instead of a nice north-easterly to blow us south towards our preferred route, Sunday's start would be in a very breezy south-westerly so we would be beating to windward for the first 24 hours. To add to this challenge, the predicted swell at the south of Gran Canaria would be 6m (with wind waves against the swell) and big rain squalls would follow. There were a lot of glum faces in the room, I can tell you.
So, for only the second time in the history of the ARC, the start has been postponed until Tuesday for the Cruising Division (the Racing crews still have to go today!). It must have been a tough call for the organisers but they clearly recognised that to send a wide range of heavily-laden cruisers, many with children aboard, out into these conditions would not be a good thing.
Have a look at the www.worldcruising.com/arc website for more details
On Maunie we would probably be one of the better boats to face the predicted sea and wind conditions (we've already experienced similar on the way here) but it would have been a wet and uncomfortable start to a 3 week voyage so we're now resigned to a couple more days here and hope that things will be better on Tuesday.
Our extra time here won't be wasted, of course. Rich is perfecting his sewing and creative skills and produced an excellent net bag for the onions whilst Fergus has been setting up our fishing kit. Di produced a batch of excellent-looking flapjack yesterday (of which the rest of us are negotiating early-tastings) and is now talking about carrot cake... Graham is studying weather charts and routes and we're all just working though the little jobs that will make life on board more comfortable. We'll keep you posted!