We motored out of the marina at Las Palmas and 11am and got our sails up shortly after that. We wanted to give ourselves a a few hours before the 1pm start to practice so maneuvers and to settle in as a crew. It was the first time we had all sailed together.
It was really exciting to be heading out and it was an incredible sight all of the boats having completed their final preparations and milling around the start line. The wind was blowing 14 knots and the sun was shining on the houses on the hillsides of Las Palmas.
There was the usual start sequence then the start was announced by a cannon fired from Spanish Navy boat that doubled as the committee vessel. The next few hours passed quickly and the once compact fleet had already started to spread out. The multihulls that started 15 minutes ahead of the monohull classes were now 8nm ahead of us. We were doing a steady 6 knots in 13 knots of wind. By the time the sunset we could only see a handful of boats. The sky was clear and visibility was good as the moon came up and darkness fell for on our first night at sea.
My first watch in darkness was at 7pm until 9pm, the rest of the crew were all still up so it was not a solitary shift but felt good to have the company as I adjusted to the helming in darkness on an unfamiliar boat. I tried to get some sleep before I was up again at 2.45am for my 3am-5am watch. It is only 2 days away from full moon so there was plenty of brightness throughout the night.
I would say that the first 24 hours was very kind to all of us. The first 24-36 hours can be very challenging as there are so many adjustments that we all need to make in so many areas including: adjusting to each other, adjusting to a new boat, to sailing at night, to sleeping and moving around on a boat that is constantly rocking, dealing with seasickness and homesickness, adjusting to being cut off from communication and any loneliness that may bring, adjusting to working optimally and safely with 4 new personalities. All of this while sailing a boat across the ocean and all of the considerations and tasks involved in that. Despite all of the adjustments this feels more like a homecoming than something foreign to me. Everything else that was concerning starts to slip away and the ocean becomes a deeper and deeper blue.
Last night at 4am as I was on watch and was joined by a few dolphins who lept alongside the boat then sped off into the darkness. I took this as a good sign for a safe and happy journey.