The Best Laid Plans

By now, those of you who have been following our tracker and our blog may have noticed that the 2024 World ARC departed Saint Lucia towards Panama in early January without us.  We reluctantly decided in mid-December that we and Saltair simply weren’t ready to cross the Pacific.  As you know from our previous blog posts, we’ve been struggling with a long list of new-boat issues since we left Sweden last summer and they continued to challenge us on our Atlantic crossing.  Shortly after we left Las Palmas our starboard rudder bearing, which had already been previously repaired twice by HR, began leaking again.  Then to make matters worse our port rudder bearing, which had until that time been water-tight, also started leaking.   With the pumps that HR added to the steering compartment in Las Palmas we felt comfortable continuing on across the Atlantic but the continual water ingress highlighted by the noise and lights of the cycling pumps added a significant amount of uncertainty and stress to our crossing. We also experienced significant challenges with our downwind sail plan and other more minor issues.  

While we had accomplished a tremendous amount over the prior six months, sailing Saltair as a family some 5500 miles from Sweden to Saint Lucia, with stops in Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, France, Madeira and Gran Canaria, the continual parade of new-boat challenges had taken a huge emotional toll on us and our excitement at the prospect of exploring the Pacific islands had turned into dread at the thought of what might go wrong next.  

So after some serious consideration we withdrew from the 2024 World ARC.  Instead, we will focus on getting Saltair properly repaired and cruise the Caribbean this winter at a leisurely pace.  We’ll then head up to New England for the summer months to continue our exploration of the Maine coast.  Our working plan is to head back to the Caribbean in the fall and join the 2025 World ARC across the Pacific.

Hallberg-Rassy has been highly apologetic and cooperative throughout our challenges.  They were fully prepared to make the repairs in Saint Lucia prior to the early January World ARC start and those repairs will now take place in Martinique in early February.