Here we Columbia…

Ahoy Boatbloggers® ,

We finally made it to South America. Santa Marta in Columbia to be precise. And it is well worth the trip – even though it was quite a tricky passage.

We managed to get our MDI unit fixed, but it was a bit touch and go. Nico came along to install it… 


All was going well, until we tried to start the engine. A new fault had developed. The temperature alarm was beeping and the engine still wouldn’t start – but for a different reason this time. So either the new MDI box was duff as well, OR the temperature sensor was faulty, OR… was something else.


Nico eventually decided it was the temperature sensor, so the best thing was to put in a new one and see if that worked.

They didn’t have one in stock.

It would take a week to get it delivered.

There was one in St Lucia.


I don’t think he could bear to see a grown man cry any longer, so he thought he had better swap the sensors over from one engine to the other to make sure that was definitely the problem before sending off for the new part.

Which he did..and lo and behold the engines started! Just like that. There is no explanation for it. The identical sensors worked one way round and not the other.

This is not mechanics. This is witchcraft.

No matter. the engines were working so thank you Nico, thank you Grenada Marine, and thank you Island Dreams who sorted it all out for us.

So by three in the afternoon we were off. Two days behind the rest of the fleet, but there was still a chance we might get to Santa Marta before the cut off time on Saturday.

There were high winds, and plenty of squalls.

Line of line squalls

This one was almost as big as the radar screen.

Big Squall

and when a squall hits, you get drenched.

You get drenched

Though luckily on a catamaran you can come inside for the worst of it.

When it rains

One night we seemed to have squall after squall with lulls in between, so we were doing the sailor’s Hokey Cokey all through the night.


and so on till you either run out of sails or you’re seasick.

Pulling the sails in quickly when a squall is approaching needs both of us, so when it’s like that you don’t get much of a night’s sleep. But on the plus side, having high winds does mean you go fast.


That big 46 is the wind speed. It actually got to over 48kn at one point which according to Ju’s Beaufort Scale Mug is officially a storm.

We managed our first 200+ mile day (212 miles to be exact) and once saw 18 knots on the log (speedometer for the landlubbers). OK, so that was surfing down a wave and it lasted about 3 seconds, but still – pretty impressive stuff.

We were romping along, and just as everything was going right – a very unusual state of affairs for a sailor – Lyn noticed something trailing behind us. Perhaps we’d caught a tuna? It seemed unlikely as we haven’t got a fishing rod, but we needed to take a closer look.

We quickly stopped the boat, which is not that quick when you’re barrelling along at nine knots with a screecher out one side and a genoa the other. Ju then climbed down to the transom and at last we could see the problem. There was a whole bundle of fishing ropes and netting and buoys tangled around the rudder. What a mess.  

He managed to cut the worst of it away, but some of it was still tangled out of reach under the boat. Even though we were stopped the boat was still bobbing up and down, so the normal thing of going over the side and cutting it all free wasn’t an option. The transom can easily come down and whack you on the head, which would definitely spoil your day. Besides, even if he could clear the ropes, it didn’t seem like it would be that easy to get back on the boat afterwards.

So what next?

It’s amazing what you can do with a boathook and a knife. It took a bit of doing, but eventually he managed to cut some more away, grab one of the buoys and pull the rest on board.


What a hero!

But after four days, Columbia came into view.

Captain Hunchback

Is Ju getting a bit of a hunchback?

Columbia 3

Nearly there.

Lyn  Columbia

The final stretch was really rough, 

Final stretch

…but we managed to get in just as the sun set.


…and before the steakhouses closed.


First impressions are that Santa Marta is fantastic. This is a city that never sleeps – there is an amazing buzz here.

Santa marta 1

And it’s very pretty.

Santa Marta Finish Line

We shall be sorry to leave.

Next stop, The San Blas Islands.

Ju & Lyn

We’re Off!

Ahoy Boatbloggers!

At 1200 on Saturday, they sounded the starting signal for The World ARC 2020 St Lucia to St Lucia, and we were off. It was a pretty damp and squally start to the whole thing - a bit like the Solent but with palm trees. But at least when it rains, it’s warm rain.

Race Start

The reason you can see so many boats and they are so far away is because we’re in our usual tactical position. The back. Fools them every time.

Now - an explanation. Those of you following us on the tracker will no doubt be very impressed with our amazing high speeds, of anywhere between eight and ten knots. “They must be among the leaders,” you will be thinking. “If only they were going in the right direction.”

Perhaps you suspect we have some cunning Ben Ainslie style plan; head south then pick up a favourable current, or an unsuspected wind, and then nip in at the front right on the finish line to rapturous applause. 

Alas, dear reader, the truth is far more mundane. 

Our Voyage Around The World was all going really well. Right up until the first day. Well - to be precise, the first second of the first minute of the first hour of the first day of the first leg of our first circumnavigation. 

It was just as we came to cast off our lines to go out into the anchorage ready for the start the next day, that we found one of our engines wasn’t working. The landlubbers amongst you might think, they’ve got two engines - why don’t they just use the spare? But unfortunately in a catamaran it’s not that simple. If you only have one engine you just keep going round in circles. We want to go round the world, not just round the bay forty three times. 

So...we needed to get it fixed - and fast. The rally was going to begin in less than 24 hours! 

We found St Lucia’s number one engineer, and it wasn’t long before we had a diagnosis; a duff MDI unit. The offending item It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got the foggiest idea what one of those is. All you need to know is that the engine won’t work without it. In an emergency you can climb down into the engine compartment and hot wire it with bit of old cable, but you can’t go round the world doing that every time you come into port.  The only solution was to get a new one. 

But unfortunately It turned out that in the whole of St Lucia there were no Mega Dodgy Interface units. Everyone else with a Volvo engine had already taken them. It’s a common fault. But what was worse is that It might take weeks for one to be delivered. It looked like we weren’t going to be able to start - a bit like our engine. As soon as Ju had stopped wailing and thumping the cushion, we sprang into action. Many phone calls and emails later, at last we tracked one down in Grenada. So that is where we went. At Sea And hopefully they can fit it first thing on Monday morning. We will be sat on their doorstep at eight when they open. 
And then - fingers crossed - we can start heading in the right direction.  Considering it’s all gone a bit Pete Tong, having to divert to Grenada is not the worst thing that has ever happened to us. Divert to Grenada To Santa Marta and Beyond!

Ju & Lyn

Around The World in….however long it takes.

Hello again Boatbloggers ® ,

Here we are in St Lucia with the crews of the other 35 boats joining us on our Voyage Around The World.

World Arc Crews

See if you can spot us!

(Clue: Ju’s the good looking one in white, kneeling down about five in from the left. Lyn’s just next to him)

We have been issued with our official race number. Not that it’s a race of course. It’s a rally. (Unless by some remarkable fluke we actually win, in which case it’s definitely a race.)

 The kind people at ARC Rally Control have issued us with the same number as our boat length, so that’s one less thing to remember.
 Lyn on Number 47
Which at our age has to be a good thing.
So our first stop is Santa Marta in Columbia which is just over 800 miles away as the flying fish flies. All being well we leave tomorrow (Saturday) and it should take us 5 or 6 days depending on the winds.
If you want to track us, go to…
Select St Lucia to Mackay, and then (of course) click on Domini.
Bye for now
Ju & Lyn