Welcome to Girls For Sails Atlantic Crossing blog 2016.


Racing c division!!

Day 22 Having battled off the squalls for 16 hours, we enjoyed a calmer day of sailing. Hot Stuff surfed the waves through 25 knots of wind and the sun was out. We were all happy to have survived the relentless squalls of the day before and enjoyed a merry day on deck. Not long after nightfall, scirocco encountered the first squall of the night, as they circled all around us again. We took the mainsail down and rode out the weather with the jib alone. Skipper Sophie spent another night sleeping on the sail in the galley, ready to jump up to help as the squalls hit. Unfortunately Sophie took a few hits of her own as the crew stepped on her occasionally, sorry skipper! During the night we had to furl away the jib completely and in one of these episodes Paula took a bump to the ribs, she's been tucked up in the spinnaker resting today. Today was a great day on the boat, with full sail back out and smoother seas. We enjoyed the last of the bacon for lunch and popcorn for our afternoon treat. As the wind eased off later in the afternoon, we hoisted the spinnaker and sped towards St Lucia under the most beautiful sunset. We are now all on deck under a blanket of stars and land is not far away! Having spent so long at sea, we're looking forward to fresh fruit, rum punch, showers, ice cream, and family and friends. This is going to be our last blog so we also have some things to list that we're going to miss: Thea: funny chats on night watches and time relaxing on deck, Nathalie: the sound of the immense Atlantic Ocean and the excitement of sailing, Thalita: the sky and my Bora Bora watch team, Oline: the unlimited view, 360 degrees around you, Mary: front row seat to sunrise and sunset every day, Lesley: looking out for Orion, Sophie: the incredible night skies, the phosphorescence and the ever playful dolphins, Katrin: helming in strong winds, Elisabeth: the excitement of not knowing what each day will bring, Paula: the peaceful, starry nights. We all want to thank Hot Stuff for this incredible journey, it's been the ride of our lives in so many waves


Day 21 - The super moon was out in force & Hot Stuff was bathed in silvery moonlight as we ran before the wind. The change of watch at 3.00 am heralded a change in the weather with the wind freshening so that helming became hard work. A call to the Skipper & the full force of the squall hit hard- Elizabeth & Thalita took turns helming as the wind reached gale force while Oline and Sophie reduced sail. The rain lashed down making it hard to see & Elizabeth began to call out the waves as they towered behind us in the darkness. As dawn broke the Southerly Busters watch came on. Almost instantly another squall hit with others surrounding the boat. They tacked to avoid a w evil looking black squall but others were waiting &they ran the gauntlet until the BIG one arrived. Sophie helming through each squall whilst the main was up& Thalita taking over between,still with 28-32kts - it was an exhausting 16hours. The wnd shreiked across the decks& the rain battered, wave height building to over 4 meters and wind speed topping 40 knots. With no let up in sight we went into action mode. All crew in life jackets ready to assist on deck, the drogue ready t be deployed from the stern, Sophie &thalita brought the main down so we were running with a tiny scrap of jib. Hot Stuff performed beautifully - her deep keel digging in as she took the waves in her stride. As the squalls continued we rotated the crew. Below decks made lunch and cleared the bilges of sea water from the waves, washboards were in to keep as much of it out. A brief respite for 45 minutes meant a welcome cup of tea & cake with Thalita breakng into her 'emergency' chocolate stash, a brief glimpse of sunshine before the squalls hit again with one particularly nasty one producing a wind speed of 44 knots - nice helming Natalie! When not driving thro the squalls Sophies voice resonated 'hold a steady helm' & 'hold on!' continueously - By 9.00pm the squalls began to ease& we returned to our watch system. The moon reappeared and the sky was lit by moonlight rainbows and shooting stars and we began to enjoy surfing the Atlantic swell safe in the knowledge that the weather was improving and that Hot Stuff's bow was now pointing to St Lucia...

DIAMONDS HAS FINISHED YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHE CAME 9th in class which is SOOOOO COOOOL LADIES !!!

Here are some great shots of them on the finish line - Tim Wrights brilliant photographs


Hot Stuff - day 17

We've passed the 2000 mile mark on the log and have started talking eagerly about our arrival in St Lucia (about 670nm to go -- tell the bars to stock up on beer!). But yesterday and today we are still enjoying the best sailing and life at sea.. lunch yesterday was followed by a lovely cake and custard, with enough left over for after dinner too.. the swells are amazing, and we're surfing them like pros, everyone of us.. yesterday we had the best dolphin show yet, 4 or 5 of them stayed with us half an hour, jumping in front of the bow, surfing the waves with us, then heading astern before coming round for more. And we had a little company for a change the last 24 hours, sailing yacht Antares has been cruising alongside us a couple hundred metres apart, since yesterday evening.. skipper Sophie radioed them late last night spotting a closing CPA. Establishing they were under sail she expressed that due to an incident with an out of control Italian boat she said 'I'd like to ascertain that a)you are not Italian and b) that you know what you are doing'. After much laughter from Antares a jolly chat ensued with the gentlemen from Cornwall. 

Today we woke up to less sunshine, the puffy clouds had grown in density and darkness and we spent it mostly battling squalls and bigger waves- 28.5 kts true wind recorded and once again Lesley stepped on her acceleration button releasing rocket fuel she sped us off at 12.5kts SOG! Hurrah! Go Go Hot Stuff! 
Just before dusk we noticed Antares with a closing CPA again! - after a quick call it turns out their jib had blown in one of the squalls we were caught in and he was busy reigning it in on the foredeck - only a few hundred metres apart we offered assistance should he need it. 
He kindly called back to thank us for the offer but their rigging was ok however they were going to have to go mainsail only - another jolly chat ensued with the rather lovely cornish gentlemen and they offered us ladies rum punches in Bequaia over Christmas! Which just so happens to be Hot Stuffs next port of destination after the Arc! Lovely! 
Oops oilys on as another squall is rapidly approaching.... 


Hot Stuff - Why I wanted to Cross the Atlantic Ocean Under Sail

 Day 16

Why I want to Cross the Atlantic Ocean on a 40ft Sailing Yacht?

Why I have chosen to Skipper across with GFS? This is now my 5th Transatlantic but my first skippering with GFS- I have been a part of the preparation period that started in the UK 5 months ago now. I worked closely alongside our amazing electrican Paul, our Fantastic Riggers Spencers, marine engineer and the incredible Adam in the boat yard too- I have seen the huge amount of time, energy, love and dedication from the whole GFS team and the great relationship we have with those who have contributed to HS & Diamonds Atlantic preps. Not a stone is left unturned. I couldnt be more proud to Skipper Hot Stuff and she has become a faithful companion of mine over the last couple of years- she is always teaching me new things and whatever is thrown at us I know we always get through it together. Hot Stuff faithfully carries an excited team into the open blue which gladdens me when I see their joy and enthusiasm when at her helm. Plus being in the middle of the Atlantic?!! - now that
s got to be pretty magical. 
Additionally, I,m always conscious of our impact on our environment and have seen many sailors dump a lot of rubbish over the side into what should be our pristine ocean. Tin cans may break down but it takes a long time and releases toxins- even kitchen roll is negative- it has plastic in it- I,ve been inspired over the years by sailor and conservationist Emily Penn who I worked alongside many years ago in Devon, plus the environmental sciences modules as part of my degree means that I want to demonstrate to our new Ocean going sailors that we can cross this vast beautiful space and limit our carbon footprint on it by breaking down our rubbish onboard. We dont have to turn every corner of the earth into a dumping ground. We are environmentally conscious Sailors onboard!
Sophie O'Neill,UK

Why fly when you can sail?! Last year I started sailing by crossing the atlantic ocean on Hot Stuff. It was an incredible adventure and I haven't stopped sailing since then. Lots of stories, miles, meeting great people and having fun. Just love it. This year I got the chance to be the first mate and it's slightly different. It's very interesting, lots to learn, just another challenge. And I love this position as well. Who knows, might go for another crossing next year again. anybody up for joining me?! Thalita,Switzerland

Mary-USA-After 25+ years of professional life, a redundancy opened up the opportunity for a 6-month break to explore new things. I was looking for a physical and mental challenge and the chance to learn a new skill that did not involve sitting behind a computer screen.. i found the ARC through Girls for Sail and that was it.. the atlantic crossing was the challenge.. since June I've been taking RYA courses and milebuilders to prepare, but there's really no way to prepare for an experience like this.. every time i come up the companionway for my night shift, I'm blown away once again by the beauty of it all.

Elisabeth-Sweden-Crossing the Atlantic by sail has been a dream for me since I got myself my first sailing boat (22 feet) 7 years ago. Having spent every full seasons sailing with friends around the mid-Swedish coastal region of the Baltic sea I was looking for a new challenge involving more night sailing, downwind sailing and offshore miles. After four years of intense focus on my career I thought it was time for a break to allow myself to fully focus on my hobbies for 6 months and experience what freedom really is and enjoy the lifestyle I spent my working years to achieve. This was likely the best decision I have done to date and the feeling of freedom is fully achieved as you sail the boat across the Atlantic, trimming the sails, flying the kite and watch the intense skies at night litten up by the moon or by stars and the milky way.

Lesley- UK- I wanted to learn how to sail across an ocean, to understand how to prepare the boat and plan the passage. I also wanted to feel what it was like to be in the middle of the Atlantic to see the stars, whales and dolphins - it's an amazing experience.... 

Katrin - Germany - I simply wanted to do something different and get away from the day-to-day routine. I decided to make this journey because I love to sail, and I like to learn what I'm capable of and push my limits. I have been enchanted by the starry sky, night sailing, the flying fish and the dolphins. This is an experience like no other.

Oline - Denmark - I am crossing the Atlantic Ocean because I wanted to travel and do something different and challenging but at the same time extraordinary. For me this crossing is a project to learn how to sail and to challenge myself. I am filming the crossing to show and tell the amazing experience this trip is going to be. 
Hot Stuff - Day & Night 14 & 15!

Oline asked for more wind, bigger waves and general Atlantic activity which after her request, the Mid Atlantic granted... keen to catch up with he fleet we have been tailing we kept the spinnaker up as dusk came and into the night. All was calm, the crew loving if not slightly anxious at being on the helm with kite up as darkness wrapped around us- 22kts true wind Lesley topped 10kts as we raced through the water. Midnight came and on the horizon lights loomed. A Sailing Yacht in close proximity, the clouds darkened above, with hands on deck the foredeck crew lowered the kite. Up went the jib, monitoring the AIS another sailing yacht appeared - that was now 2 bearing down on us mid Atlantic... making sure the other vessels could see us we radioed them. Were there any more out there stalking us?! The night continued to keep us busy - poling out the jib, changing from the no.1 to the no.2 on the foredeck under our torchlight with darkness around and the glittery stars watching us do so is quite something, water rushing past the hull the atmosphere is exciting if tense. A 'flying fish' hit the crew of the Southerly Busters watch - scrabbling about in the dark crying out 'save him, save him' they finally grabbed it to find that instead of a fish they'd been struck by a large plastic pan scrubber!

Dawn came, feeling weary and tired after an eventful night we felt we all deserved giant cups of tea & coffees. We then hoisted our secret weapon- the Pink Spinnaker! Up she went and cast her candy coloured aura all around us! She stayed up all day as we raced ahead!

Then to keep us on our toes - moments before bringing her down she danced around the furled jib- round and round and round- tightly does it. Ah a kite wrap, oh dear- Skipper was not best pleased- the foredeck crew worked as a team to untangle her, Skipper went up the mast to free a line snagged round it- tense minutes past by- an hour and a half later she sulked as she was free and stuffed firmly back in her bag...

Seconds after with a tense team breathing a sigh of relief the most majestic pod of dolphins not only came to say hello but leaped high out of the water and surrounded us! Truly magical!

Apart from the moments of action we have been mesmerized by the majesty of the spinnakers both day and night. As night fell with the kite up the sky was so black and the stars more sparkly than ever- they glitter- the moon was out and he painted our white spinnaker a deep blue that you could see through. During the day with our pink lady kite up her colour is so brilliant out here- a contrast to the metallic blue of the ocean. Whatever spinnaker, whatever the wind skipper has us all helming them. This is certainly a ride to hold on too.


Hot Stuff - Letters Home

Hallo Stralsund!
Liebe Grüsse vom Antlantik an alle Freunde, Verwandte, Bekannte und an meine Arbeitskollegen. Die allerliebsten Grüsse und Küsse an meinen Mann Volker, der mir diese Reise ermöglicht hat und an meine Kinder, Lene und Willi. Mama, mir geht es gut, du brauchst dir keine Sorgen machen. Gib Papa einen Kuss von mir. Nachdem wir nun die Seekrankheit und alles an Wetter (Squalls und Windlöcher) überstanden haben, haben wir die Passatwinde erreicht und langsam stellt sich Urlaubsfieling ein.
Also bis bald und trinkt einen Glühwein für mich mit.
Eure Katrin

From Mary - hello again shore-based support team.. i know you're all thinking how slow this is going, and you're right. But the days are full and the night watches mostly beautiful... although occasionally hard going. We started out behind but we are all enjoying the journey and have just finished our halfway celebration.. we are properly in the trade winds now, so the spinnaker will be up day and night, to give us some speed on our last leg.

On a practical note.. Nikki, please cancel the hotel, we won't be there in time.. and Lynn, i changed my flight to 21st, but am still on for the 22nd if i make that flight!
Love to you all, Mary

Lieve allemaal,

Eindelijk een klein berichtje voor jullie van mij persoonlijk. Het gaat me uitstekend en geniet van elke zonsopgang en zonsondergang. Na een moeilijke aanloop hebben we dan ons ritme gevonden midden op de Atlantische oceaan en hebben de passaat winden in de rug. Nu gaan we definitief richting St. Lucia. We denken daar in negen dagen te zijn. Het leven hier op zee is simpel maar goed. Ik voel me als een vis op het water. De dagen vliegen voorbij; er zijn toch veel taken te doen tijdens de dag (aan roer staan, schoonmaken, zeilreparatie, eten koken, etc. Van slapen komt niet veel maar dat geeft niet. Ik ben het liefs aan dek.

Mis jullie wel en had dit graag met jullie gedeeld. Kus voor jullie allemaal, ook Hugh want hij zou blij zijn als hij mij zo kon zien.

Liefs Paula xxxx

Hello everyone - we've hit the trades so should start to pick up speed with the spinny up so I should be in St Lucia about 15 Dec-ish. Check with the ARC office in St Lucia - they will give you an ETA nearer that date. If you want to meet at the finish line talk to the house manager to arrange a boat. So excited to see you all soon and tell you about my adventures - bring fizz! Give the boys a hug from me. Lesley xxx 

To Alana, turns out you were right when you said I should take some food with me because I am getting a little bit hungry! Plenty of tins and pasta but not many chocolate treats left now, I'm hoping you'll have some for me when I'm back. Hugs to you and Arthur.
Mum, thanks for the advent calendar, lovely to have a little door to open each day and looking forward to Christmas with you and Molly, (and with your home cooked food).
G & J - Having a great time and can't wait to tell you all about it.
P & J - Looks like I'll be missing out on the panto, flog the ticket and spend the savings on cheese and wine.
JB - I am dreaming of pizza, next meal out is on you when I'm back.
Thea xx

Dear Mum, Dad, the Atlantic is awesome - we're making this a family Adventure soon- beautiful sailing last night with the spinnaker up in the moonlight and 20kts:) 
Big squeeze for Twiggy:)) please send all my love to Auntie Rosmarie too. Mum have you found that poodle puppy for me I need for xmas? Annie says its fine for the office:) 
My special friend Michelle- thinking of you and your incredible family all the time- so many shooting stars here I'm sending them your way. Lots of love to your amazing Mumxxxx
And Andy - sending Atlantic waves for you to surf- plenty out here to share:)) Oceans of love and hugs for all, Sophie xxx 

Hej kära vänner och familj, vi har det helt fantastiskt här ute pa Atlanten med mycket sol, bus och segling. Vi har sett de mest fantastiska stjärnhimlarna och manskenen dessa veckor men jag saknar verkligen er alla! Nästa ar far vi se till att segla runt tillsammans och skapa minnen ihop :) Om omkring en vecka kommer vi fram till St Lucia och det ska bli sa harligt att duscha, träna och kitesurfa igen :) Hoppas ni alla har en fantastisk December och längtar efter att fa krama om er igen <3 Love, Elisabeth

Kære mor og far og Elias, vi er nu halvvejs over Atlanten det har været nogle vilde dage. Vi har oplevet alt fra storme om natten med hæftig regn til vindstille morgener. Det er blevet betydeligt varmere nu og vi har stillet uret 2 timer tilbage. Alle er super opsatte på at vi holder en høj fart (helst 7kn) så vi når til St. Lucia før alle festlighedderne slutter. Ellers går det meste af tiden med snak om hvad vi skal spise når vi kommer frem, opvask, musik, madlavning og rengøring (jeg er på vagthold Bora Bora) i går fik jeg en flyvefisk i hovedet under opvask! Haha. 
Mange kys og savn og kærlige hilsner O
Til sidst en hilsen til mine dejlige roomies, tak for julekalenderen Puge, håber i julehygger derhjemme!!! 

Und de wä de da nu ich. Fer alli wa in änglisch nit gad so güet sind hie ä chlini zämefassig. Dvorbereitige in las palmas sind sträng xi und wier hei es güets team. Am suntag isch äntli start xi, alli voller elan. De hetnisch doch sones tschingi voll vaner sita grammt und de nu zwei andri boot öi nu gad fasch. Alles uf video und pix und e hüffu üssage fer iisch. Fahrerflucht sozäge, är het nit emal gfrägt obs verletzti het oder was am boot gmacht het. Wier hei de zrug ine hafe miesse und hei nach dri täg doch nu los chene.zimli e schade und e hüfe fibre glass. Närve und papierchrieg mit der rennleitig und internationale organisatione, diskualifizert, will fremdi hilf agnu fer reparatur oder offiziell nu nit gstarttet will notfallmässig mit motor uber dstartlinie. Ds boot het jetz es grosses afang heiwer de va windloch zu windloch miese und si eifach nit ewäg cho va dene cape verde. Inzwische heiweer äntli di trade winds fer iisch, halfway zelebriert und e hüffe stories ds verzelle. Wier si immer nu voller entusiasmus und hei scho zwei räng güet gmacht in ischer klass! Yehaa, go hot stuff! Thalita

Hot Stuff - Day 12,13 &14

Day 12 & 13 & 14 - 'We've had a busy two days dodging wind holes and making lots of sail changes to get the best speed we can. But we've also made time to party - celebrating Skipper Sophie's birthday with pancakes and chocolates, a welcome reward after a tough night of squalls and no moon or stars to help guide us. We've found the trade winds at last and put the spinnaker up at dawn. Everyone has been helming enjoying the 'exhileration' of flying the kite. And we were also lucky enough to see the fin of a pilot whale in the distance and a school of flying fish.

We reached the half way mark today and opened our present from our sister ship Diamonds - thank you ladies for the gifts - a christmas cake and courtesy flags for each nation on board - we are flying them now and they look great! 

Mary spent the night packing St Nicholas presents for everyone and we woke to find chocolates in little gift bags with our names on - we also lit the second advent candle - it's feeling very Christmasy on board! Thalita produced a chocolate fondue using her secret Swiss chocolate stash (we all know where it is Thalita - its in the bilge near the nav station!). We are all sat together in the cockpit enjoying the sunset, heading West. The next blog will be halfway letters from each crew member home - so look out for these! 


Diamonds Are Forever - A French Liason

We were treated to a wonderful dinner by our skipper Lizzy this evening. As we settled into our watch enjoying the peacefullness of the night we saw a boat comming up on our stern moving swiftly through the water. A friendly French sailor on his way to Barbados. He gybed and quickly dissappeared into the nights horizon. 


As morning approached we were busy preparing to launch the kite. Once launched and cleaning our lines we realised a flying fish had chosed to join our crew. Wewf!! He willingly went back into the waters where he came from.

We have enjoyed flying the kite and putting some miles between Las Palmas and St Lucia. Each degree we make westward we celebrate!



Hot Stuff - Day 11

We've enjoyed the sun and the spinnaker all day today. Everyone has been practising helming with the kite up which is pretty hard work and we were all looking forward to a nice meal. 
Thalita, Oline and Elisabeth were on the afternoon watch and were our chefs for tonight. Fresh vegetables are running low and we have started on the tins, this calls for some inventive culinary ideas and they did not let us down. Tonight for dinner we enjoyed a new food revolution: forget the paleo diet, raw food is out, this is Prison Fusion.
The base of the meal was mashed potato topped with boiled eggs for the vegetarians and chicken in white wine sauce for the meat eaters. Each plate was served with a generous helping of pigeon peas in coconut sauce, don't know what pigeon peas are? Neither do we. The coconut sauce had a grey colouring to it, never before seen on a dinner plate, and this is how Prison Fusion was born.
This trip is all about new experiences and we certainly got that this evening. Watch out for the girls on the next series of masterchef.



Diamonds Are Forever - close encounters

And so the trade winds gently carry us to our destination. Life on board has continued in its routine of watches, cooking, cleaning, eating and sleeping. Still, our group of fabulous ladies is united. Not a crossed word has been spoken and my admiration and respect for them knows no bounds. 
We are counting down the longitudional minuites whilst starting to imagine our arrival in St Lucia with all that means. Party, rum, shower or food? The order of importance changes throughout the day. Overnight gave us some cause for a cheer as we caught up with and overtook another ARC yacht (who shall remain nameless!). Alone for so long in this massive expance of ocean, then suddenly, within less than point three of a nauticle mile, a sprint race was underway! Cheers coupled with every so slight gloating, lifted our night watch entertainmemnt. 
Our fruit has almost been devoured, we have a few apples left. Sara didnt have the heart to eat the last of the oranges! He was, naturally, called Jason. Unfortuntely, and with deep sadness, I have to report that Jason has met a tragic and sad demise. He frell overboard (or was he pushed?.
We just hope that he is in the company of the stunnng Minke whale who accompanied us through the morning. Dolphins escorted us by night and the classic whale tail was even spotted by Felicity. 
A final word opf thanks to our sister ship Hot Stuff, we have devoured the magazines and all of our half way gift from them. We wish them fair winds, with love from all on Diamonds are forever.

Hot Stuff - day 10

Today we have a birthday, many happy returns to Lesley!! And it has been a bacchanale of a celebration. champagne carefully chilled in the laundry trawling system. TWO bottles of Veuve Cliquot, the drinking of which is made fully safe and possible by the true wind speed of 0.5 knots (although the sharks are still following us!). Homemade hummous, now we are breaking into tinned food. gorgeous effort by Elisabeth. We are all sat in the cockpit, most of the laundry is done, tapas for lunch, a round of happy birthday wishes to Lesley. we are even wearing paper hats. The only thing missing from the festivities is the chocolate and strawberry cake that Thalita attempted to bake in the early hours. sadly it caught fire and was fed to the fish. But it is always the thought that counts! 
By the end of the day, we are sure to have skirted the wind hole successfully and left snail speeds and lively upwind sailing behind! The only scary bit is listening to Jack London's White Fang Being read out to us in the darkness ... AhOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Now we are on a COG of 245 degrees, with the spinnaker leading the way we are hunting for the thus far elusive Trade Winds and their puffy clouds....



Diamonds are Forever - Getting Creative - Ode to Fish

Fishy smell and no plus days

A flying fish had gone astray
Up and down, while westward weaving
My senses, they were not decieving

While wandering on the coach roof
Looking for more clues
Sara found the culprit
A mess of fishy blues

Not exactly treasure
It even hit the sail
Re-united, undivided
Onwards west we sail

The treasure hunt, it was designed
To add some competition
But as port team lost the game
There was a new decision

The penalty was buckets of cold water on the head
But with negotiation, water went elsewhere instead

Cold water,felt like 22
And while the breeze was light
Ali found a new hair do
before we'd fly the kite

Nancys food amazing
She was crowned "Mother Queen"
Luna claimed it first time
A cabbage her mouth had seen

A quiet 24 hour stint
Except for 2 o'clock
Perhaps the crew were practicing 
Some spinning at the dock

Somewhere in the compass rose
Again we'd find rge breeze
Finally a nor'easterly
Two seventy with ease





Hot Stuff Day 6


What a day! As soon as we got sunlight,  Sirocco Watch launched the spinnaker with the help of Lesley. As Bora Bora Watch took over we spotted a dark looming fin on our stern - shaaaaaaark alarm, all hands on the deck, close the pool area! Dooa doooa doooa doooa doooo (jaws). Everyone grabbed their cameras and Paula prepared her fishing line! Not long after a tiny liitle bird was resting on the fishing line.


Elisabeth our other bosun, repaired the luff of the genoa. We made lots of sail changes to suit the conditions, we had a lot of fun doing this and it was a great effort from everybody.


Tired of too many sail changes we hauled Sophie our skipper up the mast..we told her she had to fix the steaming light. But actually we needed a break from changing sails.


Today we also changed our clocks which means we are heading west now. Some put them forward, some backwards, hehehe Thea and Oline composed a song to attract the whales. We are still waiting for them.


We have found our rhythm with the watch system, this gives us more opportunity to socialise. Lots of laughs, chatting and stories.





HOT STUFF DAY 5 - AHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh :)

First we want to thank everyone who sent us emails of support, encouragment and belief. Although we are alone out in the ocean we do not feel alone with so many people thinking of us.

The weather this year is providing a lot of windholes. We constantly try to avoid them. On our current course the wind is on our starboard quarter. So Sophie put her racing bandana on, all hands on deck and we put up the kite - our final crew member. We're flying towards st lucia. Everybody is learning how to helm the symmetric loveshack spinnaker - great fun.

We had a little boat cheer as we reached our 500 miles mark. And we celebrated the first advent with a christmas candle (battery operated of course dont worry Annie!!), on our advent ring. Which made Lesley think she was hallucinating.

Fresh food is getting scarce and we are trying to make the most of it. Yesterday we had a beautiful stir fry from our raw food chef and the day before a last meat spaghetti bolognese. Today we had 'homemade' boat french onion soup! Yummies! All our bananas have gone off and we can't find the mystery hot chocolate but still we are a happy ship on our happy hot stuff:)

Everybody is enjoying the sun, Thea developed the trawling technique to do the laundry on the stern and we think she should start charging for the laundry service with payment being chocolate rations. Mary is hanging her knickers on the rail with a clove hitch and Kathrina is using a bowline on the pan to trawl as a dishwasher.

Now we are looking forward to nightfall and hoping Lesley is going to read us another ghost story on deck under the red glow of our torch lights. Team spirit is still high:)




Annie could you please send this to diamonds, we don't know how to contact them. Still to far away for vhf contact, smile. Cheers. Hot stuffers. 

Dear diamonds, Be aware we're just behind you, if you see pink luming behind you - it's us! Hihihi. We were following you on the tracker and are so proud of your progress. We've been cheering you on every step of your way. by the way, how are your bananas.


As you know we had a horrible start. We had to stay three days extra in las palmas not knowing what's going on. Hot stuff looks like she has a giant plaster on, but she shown her resilience and she's carring us across the atlantic. We love her a lot. Keep your eyes open for italian boats, cause they don't know port and starbord. 

Everybody is working well together now, we got a good team spirit and having fun. As you know we have a lot of nationalities onboard, so we are trying to read from the same dictionary. Hope you ladies are having an amazing time and racing. See you in st lucia!!

 Ps Did Luna cry for us?!  

Ps we can't find the mystery Hot Chocolate - have you sneaky diamond ladies got it all??! :D






Thanks for sorting out the sat comms issues, hope everything is goig well at home, any updates? As you can see, we have entered an area of light wind, but, we are still moving and everyone on board is having a wonderfull time. Not much to report, funny winds, been beam reaching or higher almost all the way but she is sailing like a dream. I have got some gribs now and from what I can see the light airs are set to continue for a few days. For some reason the arc weather updates are not comming through/. Any advice on directions o go, my plan is to just point and shoot from the point on, but i can see from the vessel updates that some of teh other racers have gone very far south? We aere getting updates from the boat christie by VHF when we had the chance.

Nothing more to report, oranges still lasting, everyone happy, love to all at home lizzy

Hot Stuff - day 4

Broad reaching - dawn brought a rainbow and clearer skies. Everyone has their sea legs now and are keen to catch up the fleet- we heard that our sister boat Diamonds is 9th in her class - go girls! The sun is out and so are the shorts and bikinis. Everyone had their first sea shower with a bucket at the bow - feels great to be out of our oilies and be clean! We also did our first washing - everyones clothing is out on the guradrails - a new slant on dressed all over! Cooking is starting earlier today - we've learnt that making dinner needs a detailed plan to ensure you're not eating in the dark! Paula is cooking up stir fry - smells yummy and a good way to use up the veg that needs esting



Both teams have contacted us on the sat phones and are concentrating on their weather - this is a light airs race and we are sorry that we dont have any gossip for you yet!! This is where they are


Hot Stuff - day 3

Headwinds again today. Interesting cooking, cleaning, and dressing in a washing machine! sorry Hot Stuff we love you for the beautiful race boat that you are but we love you more when you're reaching! We dropped south to avoid the strom forming in the north running 100 miles off the African coast keeping an eye out for container ships. We spotted our first whale, its body breaking the surface and diving out of sight. Later that day we saw 'him' again spouting about a mile off - amazing and something we will keep with us forever. Now that we're getting used to the boat we have started our cleaning rota. As a reward we broke open the M&Ms. The bananas are finished - we're now starting on the apples. Mary braved two hours in the galley in her oilies making dinner. Hot work on Hot Stuff - thanks for taking one for the team Mary! Nighttime found us on a broad reach heading for St Lucia at last - hooray! We celebrated with music and granola bars.

Thursday evening 6pm.

 This is where these lovely ladies are now!....enjoying the peace!


 We have worked out the sat phone problem on DAF and we look forward to hearing all about the turkey dinner! Heard from the girls and they are all lovin it!

Hot Stuff - day 2 thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!! Our first sunrise at sea to celebrate the great American holiday for Mary.. doubly fun, this is also our first "boat treat" day (We all bought gifts for the boat so we have something different and fun each day).. We gave Sophie the honour of pulling the first treat from the bag, which very appropriately for the day was POPCORN.. so Thanksgiving lunch was guacamole followed by some slightly smoky flavoured popcorn, accompanied by Mary's short patriotic playlist -- American Pie, This Land is Your Land (Springsteen version), and City of New Orleans (Willie Nelson of course). We have lots of meat and veg to start using up, so hopefully we have a bit of a feast for dinner.

On the sailing front, we got the spinnaker up for the first time today, no twists, a good hoist! And had our first visit from dolphins playing at the bow!Happy Thanksgiving!! Our first sunrise at sea to celebrate the great American holiday for Mary.. doubly fun, this is also our first "boat treat" day (We all bought gifts for the boat so we have something different and fun each day).. We gave Sophie the honour of pulling the first treat from the bag, which very appropriately for the day was POPCORN.. so Thanksgiving lunch was guacamole followed by some slightly smoky flavoured popcorn, accompanied by Mary's short patriotic playlist -- American Pie, This Land is Your Land (Springsteen version), and City of New Orleans (Willie Nelson of course). We have lots of meat and veg to start using up, so hopefully we have a bit of a feast for dinner.

On the sailing front, we got the spinnaker up for the first time today, no twists, a good hoist! And had our first visit from dolphins playing at the bow!



 THURSDAY 24th November - Happy Thanksgiving day!

HOT STUFF - We have just had a call from Hot Stuff - Hurrah. They are all doing well and apparently have the Thanksgiving turkey on. 

DIAMONDS - We still havent had an email message from them and we expect its because there is so much chatter going on they have forgotten to read the trouble shooting guide to the sat phone! We did spot a few blonde hairs on Lizzie tee hee!!! They also have 2 ladies from USA on board so hoping their turkey can actually fit in the oven...Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

WEDNESDAY 23rd November


HOT STUFF Remained in the marina but is looking much better now and will be off soon :)

 TUESDAY 24th November

HOT STUFF - no change in Las Palmas

DIAMONDS - sent us another text today so please don't worry. They are all fine and reported that they are struggling to get signal on their phone. 

MONDAY 21st November


Hello from somewhere south west of the cannaries! We had a fab time yesterday, if a little frantic in the morning. I just wanted to check in and say hi, let you know that all is well on board and everyone is happy. Upates from on board here, we had a nice relaxed start (after a few reefing line issues that delayed us a bit!!) and then a glorious broad reach down the island, no acceleration zone to speak off and had dinner just as we were breaking free of the south of the island. Overnight we went into a small wind hole for a few hours but are out again now (04:00 UT), so all happy over here lots of love lizzy and the diamonds 

HOT STUFF Remained in the marina :(


SUNDAY 20th November


Start day - We all tried to start the day with a good breakfast. Skipper Sophie and First mate Thalita had worked through the night to fix our last minute equipment issues so they especially needed to start the day with some nice food!

 We filled up the water tanks for the last time and had a little safety quiz from Sophie which we passed with flying colours. Our shore party of friends and family took some team photos then waved us off! 

We were one of the first boats out of the marina and were serendaded out by a marching band. It was so special to see so many people on the breakwater waving us off (and a few dogs!) The water was pretty calm but most of us had to change into warmer kit as we prepared to race. Turns out we were a little too eager as we were too early for the start gate where the ARC were going to check us into the race. We didn't mind as this just meant another lap around and some more waving from the crowd!

Watching all the boats gather for the start was amazing. On seeing that we were a boat of ten women, we had some offers from some other competitors who wanted to join us - sorry guys, buy us a drink in St Lucia! 

We hoisted our sails and we were ready to race!

The start sequence for our division started at 12.45 and we were right amongst the action. Sophie was keeping us on starboard tack and we were dancing with the other boats along the start line, an incredible atmosphere. Unfortunately another boat on a port tack collided with us and this forced us to head back into the marina to assess the damage. Safety comes first in our team so we know we made the right decision. Watching the fleet disappear over the horizon as we headed back to the marina was pretty tough but we are an excellent crew and we intend to catch up!Everyone in the marina has been so kind to us and we've even had some free nibbles in the restaurants so every cloud as they say...

 Girls for Sail in the UK are working tirelessly to get us back on the water and Sophie and Thalita are doing the same here. The team is sticking together and we are ready to race! Hot Stuff is also desperate to get to the Caribbean as she is not enjoying the rain here in Las Palmas.  

Keep your fingers crossed for us! We are still hoping for the adventure of a lifetime and the rum-punch on the other side!


Day 1 - A Cetacean Send off

Hi there everyone! What an amazing day we have had! As we left port along with everyone else it was such a fantastic atmosphere with hunderds of people waving us off, and music playing. As we trotted across the start line we were all so excited, and within a couple of hours we observed a flying fish and a pilot whale came to wish us fair winds. Conditions were perfect to enable us to settle into our watches and duties and get to know the lovely diamonds. We look forward to day 2!
We want to say a big thankyou to Wendy, skipper Lizzys mum, for all the help this week, the pasteries, sandwices and bolognaise were delicious.
Love to all friends and family from everyone on board.



It was a glorious day on the water in Las palmas - clear sunny day and the excitement was extraordinary. The racing division set sail and daimonds had a clear start but Hot Stuff was not so fortunate. Cavallier 3, a yacht on a port tack collided with our yacht on a starboard tack. Needless to say safety first rule applied and we have been busy repairing the damage. Watch this space! We are not quitters and even though we expect our protest to succeed the jury will not hear our protest for at least 3 weeks. Some repairing and sailing to do so speak soon!


There are 18 lovely ladies on 2 GFS yachts HOT STUFF & DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER!! These girls are leaving TODAY!!!!! Sunday 20th November 2016 heading for sunny St Lucia. Please follow their blog as they send us a report daily at around lunchtime! Please follow their progress using this link ....and then READ ON for a lorra laughs (we hope!)


The 18 ladies have been up for a while - some more than others ha ha! The fresh bread is purchased,  the 1000L of water is onboard and hundreds of tins ... but are they ready?! Was the hairdressers open this morning?! We think so....tee hee - we think they are ready to go now! We will shortly be uploading some final photos, so watch this space.

 GOOD LUCK And ENJOY THE RIDE ladies to Amy, Alice, Ali, Elisabeth, Felicity, Katrin, Leslie, Lizzie, Luna, Nathalie, Nancy, Mary, Oline, Paula, Sara, Sophie, Thalita, Thea,

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PREP WEEK 13th - 20th November

 What a lovely shot! This is a fab shot of the ladies looking happy n chilled  

 At the welcome meeting the team had a very detailed briefing including this helpful summary of the plan for the week ahead - obviously created by Picasso!

The ladies met for the first time on Sunday and GFS ensures the crew get to know each other well understanding eachs persons skills 7 strengths. A lot of planning goes into our events and this is a key part of our success


The workshop lasted all afternoon and was followed by our attendance at the ARCS crew dinner where all 18 of us ate drank and danced the night away!



 Safety Briefing time on Hot Stuff  - notes at the ready skipper!






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