ARC 2017

In November 2017, I joined a crew of seven others and sailed across the Atlantic.  From Las Palmas in Gran Canary to St Lucia in the Caribbean, we and about 200 other yachts of all shapes and sizes, sailed 3000 miles as part of the Atlantic Raleigh for Cruisers.

What follows is a record of a blog, written by the whole crew, on a day-by-day basis as we journeyed across the great ocean.


The ARC Blog of S/Y Clare

19 November 2017 – The Good Ship ‘Clare of London’

Morning All,

As I send this, Clare will be slipping from the dock and heading out into the waters just off Las Palmas. Our start time across the line will be 1300 UTC with a relatively straight run down the east of the Island, slingshot around the southern end and start our westerly run. The weather is good with a slight breeze to get us going.

Next update once we’re on the go..


First 24 hrs at sea

13:00 hrs UTC Monday 20 November 2017

Position 27 deg 14 mins N; 18 deg 20 mins W; 40nm South-West of most westerly of the Canaries El Hiero. Logged since the start about 210 nm, to go to St Lucia 2545 nm; not yet quite half way! A mixture of very light breezes and slow progress in beginning (3 kts); and some really great night time sailing with boat speeds in the 11-13 kts range.

It’s a very worrying crew. Almost two mutinies before we left the dock. The first has something to do with the grapes which weren’t seedless. The second came when the Skipper insisted we had to turn-off the hydraulics and sweat the main to the top – after all we now have ‘The Fonz’ on the crew – he is our secret weapon.

There been quite a bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on display. AJ’s goal is to empty the Lazarette and the Sail-Locker and put all the contents under his bunk. Steve has brought 20 pairs of specs with him and he is hiding them all over the main saloon. An obsession never to be without a Tupperware box was finally broken; in fact so great was the reform that every Tupperware box that could be found on the yacht was thrown in the skip in the dead of night and Jane now has nowhere to keep the food.

Our golden rule of no alcohol at sea was undone. Someone forget to lock the cockpit fridge and tacking just before the start, the fridge drawer shot across the deck, exposing a secret lower compartment and yes, it was full of beer. Sorry boys its cold-turkey time. Is this why we are demolishing the fruit supply?!

Limerick of the day
The Skipper of Yacht Clare is Sir Frank
Who gave the main halyard a yank
Using experience of past
The sail shot up the mast
Whilst his biceps all bulged like a tank

Spirits are high and there prevails a great sense of camaraderie.


Too small you see, so nothing for tea

13:00 hrs UTC Tuesday 21 November 2017

Position 26 deg 40mins N; 21 deg 18 min W: 216nm West of El Hierro. Logged 404nm since the start, plenty still on our great circle course. Slow progress on the donkey due to a lack of puff yesterday, but as of 0830hrs back on the winds and making 10kts good progress in the right direction.

The Master of the boat set to his fishing gear yesterday, sifting through lures from times gone by and rigging his line and weights to hopefully grant the crew their demands for tuna.

The mother of the boat on Monday, Jane, has surpassed herself with her generous and very excellent South African Bobotie – leaving the crew replete indeed.

The previously mentioned bonding locker (beer fridge) has undergone repair and once again there’ll be cool beers ready for our arrival at St Lucia.

Breaking news! The Master’s fishing rig has livened up since deployment – with a battle hard won, a beautiful half-metre Mahi-mahi was pulled aboard. It was immediately decided to release the catch so it could grow and feed another crew another day.. with a tentative hug from the Mate, the hook was removed and the wonder of the deep returned to whence it came.

Limerick of the day – by Crewman Tommy
Whilst in the snakepit coiling rope
The fishing reel gave us some hope
Too small you see, so nothing for tea
Oh dear, how will we cope

With the sails up and good speed being made, the spirits of the crew are higher than ever.


No wind, too much wind, wind from wrong direction, rain

13:00 hrs UTC Wednesday 22 November 2017

Position 26°05’N 24°30′, now c.400 nautical miles West of El Hierro our nearest land. Logged 610 nm since the start, at present right on our great circle route. Still to go to Saint Lucia about 2160 nm. After a slightly frustrating night passing through a predicted area of unfavourable weather

Under cover of darkness, we experienced significant wind shifts in both direction and speed accompanied by the occasional squall and rain showers (basically no wind, too much wind, wind from wrong direction, unwanted swell, and pouring rain – really nice!). By day break the worst was fading into memory and it was time to shake out the reefs in the mainsail and set our desired course rather than being ‘driven’ by the weather in the wrong direction. The good ship Clare is now making progress in the ‘right’ direction, and all crew came through their first test with flying colours; and no breakages!

This morning, whilst avoiding one lingering large cloud and associated wind shifts, we came close to another participant in the ARC (a very nice Norwegian who we met as he was moored next to us in Las Palmas) and had a brief amicable VHF radio exchange with their crew (Clare this is Enigma Are you awake Over?); they had been through the same conditions as ourselves the previous night.

Limerick of the day by AJ
‘Afternoon tea with fresh sconz
Didn’t quite work for ‘The Fonz’
He was heard to utter
I don’t eat butter
So he had an orange instead!!!!!’


No drunken sailors….

13:00 hrs UTC Thursday 23 November 2017

Position 25°27’N 27°57’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 805 nm since the start, at present right on our great circle route. Still to go to Saint Lucia about 1970 nm, after a continued period of feast and famine with the weather!!!

Spirits are still running high aboard the good ship Clare with no drunken sailors or thoughts of mutiny! Earlier this morning ‘The Fonz’ had become bored of keeping his feet on deck which resulted in him being hoisted into the boom to take some artistic photos. In other news our Mother of the day, Mr Jeffrey, has been slaving away trying to better amazing tastes and generous servings conjured by Super Chef Steve, earlier in the week. What is to come from Chef AJ looks and smells amazing, but crikey lunch was so late we all nearly collapsed. Sadly, the fishing line has given us no excitement today with not even a nibble! We are still yet to taste Frank’s fresh tuna recipe of different herbs and oils.

In regards to the weather we had some strong wind giving us a great sail just this morning (unusually for our route beating hard to windward south of a huge depression making its way in the other direction towards you poor guys in Europe). Soon after that we have had multiple patches of low cloud cover giving us some heavy rain and variations of big gusts and very light breezes, resulting in the use of poor old donkey! In preparation of the worst (40+ knot winds) we have discussed completely dropping the main, by-passing reefs, just to get the sail down as quickly and safely as possible.

Not the limerick of the day

Captain Frank, First Mate Andy,
All on Clare looks fine and dandy,
Fonz and Tom, Steve and Jane,
Make the sailing all look plain,
Jim’s Mother watch gave food to please us,
Whilst Matt’s weather brief just cumulonimbus,
Clare’s a happy Crew it can be seen,
It is on its way to the Caribbean. — Ouch!!


All at once..

13:00 hrs UTC Friday 24 November 2017

Position 24°06’N 30°20’W, further out on the Atlantic. Logged 990 nm since the start, at present 51 nm south of our planned great circle route, due to weather conditions – read on. Still to go to Saint Lucia about 1835 nm, after the most challenging period thus far with the weather.

WOW – Wind over Water

What a night, what a day!

We lost Enigma over the horizon yesterday – I woke after a nap this afternoon and there she is again, clearly visible on our beam. Some of our crew thinks she’s actually a ghost ship as she does not appear on AIS or radar – or perhaps she’s just running in stealth mode. So what has happened to us during Enigma’s disappearance or it is us who’s invisible?

The low to the north of us tracked lower than anticipated giving us some interesting conditions. After some spells of using the Cummins sail we settled into some upwind sailing in building winds. During the night we tacked onto starboard and tucked in the third reef, doused the blade ready for the maiden appearance of the staysail. Great job by Frank, Jim, AJ and Tom. 25 knots and more of true wind and 35 or more of apparent in a confused and building sea gave for some trying conditions below, particularly for Tom on mother watch. However, it’s warm and sunny on deck if a little wet at times. One wave had Matt’s name on it and even though he was under the spray hood it found its target to much ribaldry and ribbing from Jane who was in a more vulnerable position but stayed dry. Jim and Fonz have continued to develop their photography skills whilst trying to protect their cameras. There was much fun to be had by Fonz on night watch with Matt as he practised “sheet in”, “sheet out” but couldn’t find a bed!
The fishing exploits have been on hold today – we’re all waiting with baited (sic) breath for our first fresh fish supper.

Clare continues to look after us superbly – up to eleven knots with 3 reefs and staysail – solid and strong, blue sky and sunshine, what’s not to like – except the sea state! The crew continue to be a happy bunch enjoying each other’s company and companionship. We are all looking forward to Tom’s dinner which will have to come from a very unstable galley – but we know he will rise to the challenge, there’s a lot to live up to.

Limerick of the day:
The wind blew hard day and night
Oh, what a wonderful sight
Clare dealt with it well
Riding over the swell
Don’t think we’ll be flying the kite!


And then it passed..

13:00 hrs UTC Saturday 25 November 2017

Position 22°02’N 32°56’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 1220 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia about 1625 nm. We are anticipating by tomorrow; 7 days into our passage; being about half way – hopefully with some more friendly trade winds weather from the NE now to come. The gale that beset us for 36 hours as described in yesterday’s blog, finally blew itself out in the early hours of this morning. We saw up to 30 knots of wind (Force 7 near gale) mostly from the wrong direction, so despite having plenty of puff available to us, we weren’t able to make great progress towards our destination.

‘Red sky at night is a sailors delight’:-

The conditions have improved as the day has gone by with the wind speed & direction becoming a bit more consistent & the sea swell gradually diminishing.
I think that over the last couple of days everyone now understands why Welsh mountain sheep have 2 legs shorter on one side than the other! Clare now sailing in to the beautiful sunset just tops it off. We’ve seen spectacular flying fish, with a couple of them deciding to land on board, instant rigor mortis setting in! Sadly that’s the only fish we’ve seen today except for the one that got away!
Matt produced a delicious fish pie for supper which we just imagined had been freshly caught; oh well, there’s always tomorrow! Maybe Frank & Tommy need to rehearse their ‘fish song’ duet a bit more!

What a way to finish the day off with a star lit sky & a moon lit sea. Goodnight to you all from the crew on Clare as we sail in to the night with the crew watch system in place.

Limerick of the day:
Sorry there’s no limerick today
The crew have all gone off to pray
Crouched down on their knees
can you hear their loud pleas
for ice, tonic and a large Tanqueray!


Windlacking and time-warping

17:00 hrs UTC (14:00 Ship’s time) Sunday 26 November 2017

Position 21°04’N 36°51’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 1435 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia about 1410 nm.
We’re over the hump now and had a great day of sailing progress yesterday, often making 11 knots of boat speed; in fact about equal to our true wind speed – Clare seems to do that. Sadly, this dropped off over night and the poor donkey is being encouraged to give of her best once again.

Prior to the drop of wind last night, the crew were given the best sunset show on earth – with the lowering of the sun filling the sky with every variation of golden yellows and oranges possible. Everyone held their breath for the mythical green flash on the horizon – we may not have seen it last night, but there will be more delightful sunsets before we reach our destination.

The lack of wind today has not dampened spirits and, as our Good Ship ‘Clare of London’ has treated her crew so well, they in turn have treated her. Her decks and stainless have been washed down outside and she’s looking splendid in the glorious Atlantic sunshine. On the inside, her galley has had loving care from the slightly OCD Fonz and is now smelling sweeter than his aftershave!

Meanwhile, it seems you don’t need to go 88mph before hitting a time warp, 8.8 knots will do fine! The Master of the Ship instituted a time freeze this morning (it was noon for a full three hours) as the skipper stood a dog watch to preserve our watch bill. The ship’s time is now approximately in line with local Atlantic time (37 degrees west). The crew had hoped that lunch would now be considered breakfast and a second lunch would follow, but alas we are to be held to ransom until dinner this evening.


Water, water everywhere and a bonus limerick to make the day!

17:00 hrs UTC – London (14:00 Ship’s time) Monday 27 November 2017

Position 20°10’N 40°14’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 1620 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia about 1240 nm.

Today we had the best live dolphin show on earth with a large pod of dolphins including some adolescents, coming in at great speed from both quarters and playing joyfully in our bow wave. Fonz, who is not easily overcome, had the biggest smile. He got some great pictures to show the family and friends at home. The guys that gave the Fonz a hard time at the gym are in for a bit of a surprise; the indomitable Fonz has taken to his new environment almost as well as the dolphins.

As is often the case, in the wake of the dolphins, we could see tuna jumping 1 metre out of the water. With no less than three fishing lines over the stern trailing squid, we were expecting the big strike but sadly it didnt come. The lines are patiently waiting though, as are the crew for fresh tuna dinner. The knife is sharp…

We are now in a totally blue setting with water, water everywhere, but still not a puff of wind. It is now very hot and humid.

We have received some fleet updates. The very unusual weather thus far with the earlier Atlantic gale that produced headwinds and seas, caused 1 dismasting and a number of rig related retirements, and some crew injuries, none life threatening. Thankfully we are all safe and sound aboard Clare.

But it is the lack of wind that is really causing concern across the fleet right now. Quite a lot of boats seem to have run very low on fuel and provisions and have diverted (Cape Verde Islands). Everyone is slowing right down. Aboard Clare we are now seriously into fuel conservation mode. For example, reducing speed to 7 knots to get fuel consumption down from 15 to 8 litres an hours and a number of measures to reduce power generation fuel burn. These measures will extend our ability to keep going without wind by a further 4-5 days, so we will be fine. The engine has now been running for about 40 hours and no sign of wind yet….

Thus, the trade winds sadly havent blown so far this passage but hopefully will put in an appearance soon – please!

Limerick of the Day

Three lines set for Tuna today
Several dolphins came to play
Whilst surfing on our bow
They showed they know how
In their own inimitable way

STOP PRESS!

For the sceptics amongst you who doubt our ability to catch Tuna or anything else, we are happy to present a second limerick –

Whilst waiting for Tuna today
A Dorado came our way
With one quick look
It jumped onto Frank’s hook
Fresh fish for supper – HOORAY!!


A Big Mahi-Mahi and a spectacular Meteor

14:00 hrs UTC – London (11:00 Ship’s time) Tuesday 28 November 2017 Position 19°08’N 42°23’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 1780 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia about 1100 nm. The tradewinds put in a brief appearance today and hoisted the kite for only the second time so far on this passage and ran before the warm breeze.

Update on last nights fish supper:-
Expertly filleted on deck by Frank, lightly seasoned & straight in to the oven; 40 minutes later served up with a delicious Mediterranean sauce & roasted butternut squash. Frank’s certainly set the bar very high for the best meal of the trip so far, against some very stiff competition!!

Shortly after midnight (UTC) last night, during their watch, Matt & Jane witnessed the most amazing sight. A meteor that was HUGE & lit up the whole sky. There was a massive ball deep golden in colour with a contrail, equally massive, that was deep orange & extremely long. It travelled the whole distance of our sight from horizon to horizon, coming from the NE & disappearing down to the SW.
We were both dumb struck (& that takes quite a lot from me!!) & Matt actually said ‘that was impressive & I’m not easily impressed!!’ Anyone know what we witnessed please? Can’t believe it is unidentifiable, surely someone must have known about this.

Moving on, we are now preparing to celebrate 1000nm left to go to St Lucia, hopefully overnight, if the wind prevails?!

Limerick of the day:

‘The Trade winds that blow to the West
Are the ones that we all like the best
Sometimes they fail to blow
Which makes progress incredibly slow
So in diesel we think we’ll invest!!’


The one about Snickers and Jaws

19:00 hrs UTC – London (16:00 Ship’s time) Thursday 30 November 2017

Position 15°06’N 46°38’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 2200 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia about 840 nm.

Apologies for our lack of communication yesterday, we had troubles appointing a scribe, however we are all still alive and well!

We are now comfortably sitting on the conveyer belt that is the trade winds, giving us a steady NE breeze of 12 to 18 knots. This has allowed us to have an amazing sail today, full main and kite giving us a high speed of 13.5 knots!

The 4pm tea and cake routine has been getting better and better. In the last few days we have had freshly made jam scones, lemon drizzle cake (for AJ’s B day), a very moist, yet firm victoria sponge (Mary Berry would have been proud!) and today a stack of incredibly fluffy pancakes made by Mother Hardman.

In fishing news, we think we may have had Jaws on the end of the line… the reel started to whizz and before we knew it 200-300 metres of line had screamed its way out of the reel by which time it was becoming hot to hold. Then in an instant, the episode ended as unexpectedly as it had begun with the line parting 100m behind the yacht in mid air – a very curious thing never before beheld! And so we commit this to the annals of great fishing stories about the giant that got away.

Limerick of the Day:

Whilst Tommy hunts out the snicker bar
The rest of the crew thinks he’s just gone too far
We hasten to add
It’s driving him mad
Let him have one, poor lad – he’s a Star!!

Further south we decided to go
Toward the area where Trade Winds blow
Whilst running fast under sail
Did our fishing line fail
The size of the one that escaped we’ll never know


Christmas Fare

18:00 hrs UTC – London (15:00 Ship’s Saturday 2 December 2017

Position 14°14’N 53°41’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 2625 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia about 422 nm.

Today has to go down as one of the most spectacular days. After the rain and clouds of 0600-0700, it cleared up to become a stunning clear blue day with excellent sailing breeze to fill our spinnaker. We were making such great speed most of the day that unfortunately, even though fishing tackle had been completely restored, fishing was cancelled today.

There is now a lot of floating seaweed in the sea and a much greater frequency of flying fish which seem magnetically attracted to Clare. I have reported before but it is worth repeating that flying fish when landing on deck die immediately. Two things then ensue. First they get instant rigor mortis and second they immediately give off a pungent odour that absent friend Moose can’t abide! Breathing apparatus is needed to approach this unfortunate beast.

Thank you to Kari for the mince pies! Now into December we felt well justified in breaking into the special Christmas fare. Much appreciated by all.

The imminence of our arrival now has prompted the usual sweepstake on precise ETA. I suppose it was somewhat troubling that one of the Watch Leaders literally didnt know what day it was (well he thought he did, but Sunday wasnt correct). He has been granted a stay of execution and will be permitted to amend his ETA provided he does so in writing before noon Ship’s Time tomorrow.

Tom’s problems continued. He was absent most of the day in search of the merest morsel of snickers bar. Lucy, I am not sure if you know but the lad has a serious addiction that will need careful treatment by an accomplished psychiatrist when he returns eventually to Blighty (if the poor man lasts that long).

AJ is mother today. These duties are become more challenging by the day as the larder becomes depleted. AJ, miraculously, is producing a Mousaka without we believe any aubergines?! We will see – it smells amazing though.

Limerick of the day
The Skipper called us out at first light
To engage in some fun with the kite
Twisted lines and sail cloth
Gave rise to no wroth
When eventually we got it all right


Clare picked-up her skirts

18:00 hrs UTC – London (15:00 Ship’s Time) Sunday 3 December 2017.

Position 14°07’N 55°46’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 2812 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia about 246 nm.

Another spectacular trade wind sailing day, blue skies, fluffy clouds and 15 – 19 knots of breeze. Start of the day with an all hands call at 0700 ship’s time to furl the reacher and hoist the spinnaker.

Clare has really picked up her skirts and is flying. Up to 13.5 knots boat speed and making good VMG. It’s hot – damn hot!

Crew presence on the deck has been noticeably less as the temperature and sun burn factors have increased. It could of course also have a high correlation with the fact that the air con is working very effectively below decks. As I write Tom is busying himself on mother watch again, ostensibly hovering and cleaning but in reality he is checking out all lockers and hidey holes for any elusive Snickers bars! He tries to tell us that he doesn’t usually eat chocolate!

In early afternoon another, more urgent, all hands call was heard as we had to retrieve the spinnaker as quickly as possible as it had a large split in it. Some great teamwork led by AJ and Matt recovered the injured beast safely to the deck without further incident, but with lots of co-ordination, strength and guile. Poor old Fonz took some stick as he wasn’t wearing his usual GoPro and didn’t film the occasion. His strength, however, was welcome. So with everything all sorted and squared away, we now continue rolling our way towards St. Lucia with reacher and mainsail and less than 300 miles to go, as the crow flies, but our sailing angles do increase that. The sweepstake on arrival time continues, but there were some late alterations to estimates following the loss of the kite.

We have eaten extremely well throughout this voyage and continue to do so although the cooks are having to be a little more inventive with the reducing food stocks – one thing is clear though – no one is going to go hungry.

Limerick of the Day
The spinnaker has been our release
Which went up safely, all in one piece
Blue and red ‘gainst the sky
So good to the eye
’tis a shame it has more than one crease


St Lucia in our sights, well almost!

20:00 hrs UTC – London (17:00 Ship’s Time) Monday 4 December 2017.

Position 14°09’N 59°57’W, on the Atlantic. Logged 3071 nm since the start; to go to Saint Lucia 57 nm.

As dawn broke this morning, we were confronted by a high cloud overcast and very humid air with little wind. This had been the pattern throughout the night, which had led us to lower the mainsail to protect it from the damaging effect of slamming from side to side in a light tail wind and heavy rolling induced by a following sea. Motoring through the night had allowed us to set a direct course towards our destination and thereby make good progress.

Sadly the daylight hours have brought little change with regard to our ability to revert to sailing. However, we have been entertained by a couple of Terns, a lone shark and mosty recently a small pod of adult and juvenile dolphins.

Further entertainment on deck has been provided by combined efforts to prepare the tender for use. Repeated attempts to start the engine finally ‘bore fruit’ after several cups of tea and mince pies served with a slice of cheese! There is also a possibility that Frank’s linguistic ability was an influence as there was a fair amount of unintelligible under breath muttering taking place on occasions!!

Spirits are high – could be the cheese and mince pies, could be the sound of the tender engine running or could be the imminent end of our journey celebrated in suitable style!!

I would just like to say thanks to Frank and his crew for the most exciting and thrilling journey crossing the Atlantic. You guys have shown great professionalism in all aspects of your duties. I have been very lucky to do this journey with you guys. I feel like I am part of a special club now, ‘The Sailing Club’ and I am looking forward to showing you guys around my beautiful Island of Saint Lucia, my home! To my darling wife Rhona and two kids Xavier and Gilles thank you for all the lovely messages you have sent me, they’ve meant a lot to me on this jouney. Can’t wait to see you guys on my return, lots of love Alfonso Aurelien.

Our Atlantic crossing is sadly coming to an end. There have been many highlights during the trip including catching a huge Dorado (Mahi-Mahi), seeing a few pods of dolphins as well as a big ol’ shark! We have had some absolutely amazing sailing especially whilst flying the kite. We are all now super excited to have a look around the Island of Saint Lucia and indulge on some of the finest Rum. Many thanks to Frank and the Crew!

The end of our journey is nigh
And morale in the crew is high
Yes, we’ve had fun all right
But thoughts of rum tonight
Are unlikely to have passed anyone by!


Arrived

Dear Followers,

We finally arrived in St Lucia around midnight local time Monday, having journeyed a little under 3200 nautical miles across the Atlantic. Our number 1 objective was to do this safely, with no injury to any crew member, and this I am delighted to say we achieved.

Our second objective was to look after Clare and her equipment and this we largely achieved, but like after all great passages we have some running repairs to do; gladly nothing dramatic. So, we looked after Clare and she certainly looked after us and was secure, dry and comfortable in all conditions throughout.

Only Fonz wanted to turn-off the air-con to acclimatize to the tropics and this was roundly rejected by all of his colleagues! Even Dhobi Wallah Steve demanded more refrigeration as he helmed in stifling conditions with his head wrapped up in a sort of mega-bandage

The measure of a great team is how it responds to the unexpected and how it recovers its composure and rhythm. Clare’s crew truly excelled in this regard and my thanks to each of them for their engagement, hard work and sense of humour. Laughter is prized on these endeavours and there was always someone cracking some sort of gag which made the trip light-hearted and fun.

A really special thanks to AJ for his spirited performance once again. He is tireless. And Matt should take the Cool Hand Luke award, for his calm, measured response to every challenge, even producing lunch from an empty fridge.

St Lucia seems a very welcoming place (despite unseasonal torrential rain) and everyone is impressed we brought home the ‘prodigal son’, who literally seems to know everyone on the dock.

With all the formalities now cleared away James and I are getting ready to leave this afternoon for London. Other crew members have their own demobilisation plans in the coming days.

Finally thanks to the families at home that have supported the crew and for the kind and amusing messages sent from base. We are now all keen to get back to our wonderful families and impending celebrations; except AJ, Tom and now it seems also Jane who will stay with Clare through Christmas.

One last Limerick before signing-off:
The crew of yacht Clare are up to their tricks
While trying to write good limericks
If the words don’t scan
As well as they can
It goes down like a tonne of old bricks.

This is our final ARC Blog.

Love and best wishes to all,

The Crew of the Good Ship ‘Clare of London’