As crates kept on piling up under the midday sun, Riccardo and I understood that we had lost our provisioning battle to Russia and post-soviet compulsive consumerism.
The Captain had been on a shopping binge for two days using the boat’s owner credit card, buying every item known to men, from angle grinders to cocktail umbrellas.
After stowing two containers of sausages and one silo of frozen pyrogy, we could not believe our eyes when they delivered an entire plantation of melons to our dock.
It was only then that we understood that we were provisioning under the assumption that communism could have been upon us any minute. It was crucial to have enough cabbage and sausages in stock to take the black market by storm when the inevitable happened.
On the other fronts, preparing the boat for the ocean crossing proceeded smoothly, and with the final installations of nautical equipment underway, we were almost ready to set sail and join the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Plus (ARC+).
Now, dear reader, you are in for a small digression describing what the ARC+ is. This small digression will inform you while contributing to the already piss-poor structure of this article.
The ARC+ is a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and attracts over 200 boats and 1200 people every year to sail 2700 nautical miles across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia. It allows mediocre sailors like myself to beg for a ride to the other side of the pond, and practiced sailors to take their boats across the Atlantic, with the added safety of sailing in company.
It also has a bit of a competitive kick, with boats being ranked in different classes and prizes awarded for each leg. The ARC+ route departs from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and includes a full week of activities, seminars, and social functions before departure, all included in the entry fee.
The fleet then regroups in the Cape Verdes before setting off with the trade winds across the Atlantic to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.
More than just a boat race, the ARC+ is about friendships made ashore in the two weeks of pre-departure activities. (Read: Two weeks of pre-departure heavy drinking endured by die-hard alcoholic seamen).
Now, dear reader, after this marvelous copy paste passage from the world cruising club website, let us “smoothly” transition back into the story.
On the ENIGMA, to reward our week of hard work, in a display of gallantry and great leadership, the captain granted us permission to get shitfaced.
That night rally control was hosting a costume competition, and the captain’s orders were clear: we needed to bring that best costume prize home.
We danced, drank and eventually, only after hitting most rally participants in the face with my very unpractical costume, we won the 200 euros voucher for best-dressed crew, but the prize was small compared to the real achievement of that evening.
Coming back to the boat, that night we found our master and commander passed out on the galleys floor, fallen victim to a fridge raid gone wrong.
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