In the rush of getting ready for the start of our Atlantic crossing, we omitted to mention the arrival of our final crew member, Stephen.
When we arrived in Las Palmas two months ago we were planning to cross en famille, just the five of us. Whilst we were tired after the passage from Lisbon to the Canaries, we reasoned the Atlantic (~2800 miles) was 4x the distance from Oeiras to Las Palmas (700 miles), and we could handle 4x what we’d just completed.
As more ARC boats arrived in Las Palmas and as we took stock of the relatively vast numbers of crew on comparable boats, we reflected on the toll the crossing would take – what if we sustained a serious injury, how would we cope with the fatigue of children, squalls, reefing, 24-hour watch? Maybe not as simple as 4x?
We discussed whom we might ask to accompany us. Our criteria: first and foremost, a friend, someone who’ll cope with the children (and the adults!), an experienced sailor and someone who knows the boat.
We came up with a short list of one. Stephen was at the top of this list. There may be more people we might have asked but we couldn’t think of anyone.
Stephen is one half of the husband and wife team of North Sea Maritime, UK agents for Alubat, manufacturer of Ovnis, through whom we bought Khujada 2, an Ovni 395. From the specification, where he was a valuable foil and sounding board for ideas and key decisions – we didn’t make many mistakes in the design – through to commissioning, where he accompanied us before we set sail for home on the maiden voyage, and into ownership, Stephen has often been the first person we’ve turned to for questions or obstacles, and is always ready to help. Not only does he have experience (already with transatlantic crossings under his belt) but also expert knowledge of our boat, as well as being a handy engineer in case of issues whilst under way, not to mention being a good guy.
All of this added up to the ideal (only) candidate so we were delighted when he accepted our rather last minute invitation to join us on our crossing.
Stephen arrived just over 36 hours before the scheduled start of the rally, bringing everything we expected – expertise, energy, orderliness, ideas and our wish-list from the UK of items we couldn’t source in Spain / Portugal. Three weeks later we’re now most of the way there, noone’s fallen out and we’re delighted we decided not to go it alone, and will say fond farewell as Stephen returns home to the UK for Christmas with his family.