A night of contrasts...

Graham Deegan
Wed 2 Dec 2009 13:33
Yesterday we learned a lot about this ocean climate and fixed a few problems that will improve our performance in the future.
Last night was another learning experience...
The Preacher and Sparks did a good job till midnight,  making up for lost time. 
The Doc and I took over at midnight.  Akarana was cruising nicely under .75 oz Spinnaker ....but there was a large black cloud looming astern with Akarana's name written all over it.  I decided after the earlier experience that it was prudent to stow the kite keeping both the kite and the men dry.  This we achieved just before the rains started and we settled into white sail reaching into stair rods of rain.  The expected gusts did not materialise....  insted the wind headed and we were eventually on a tight fetch with the wind varying between 6 and 16 knots.  We headed high in the hopes of finding the other edge of this monster... but no other edge was found,  only thunder, lightning and stair rods of rain.  We had hoped to hand over to the new watch with a clear sky and all set fair,  but shortly before 3pm we had to hand over a miserable situation to the Nipper and Mum. 
Things went from bad to worse for the Nipper.  The rain continued and the wind died.  For 4 hours Mum & the Nipper struggled....  eventually dropping all sails and resorting to the engine for half an hour. 
Meanwhile I discovered my bunk in the aft cabin to be soaking wet.  Somebody kindly shut the window but was unaware that the screws need to be tightened like a submarine.   ......result a very wet bunk.  I exchanged bunk cushions with some from the forepeak and fell fast asleep.
I woke at 6:00am to go on watch to discvover a bright sunny day with the spinnaker set and Akarana sailing very happily.  What the Nipper did not say is that we had only just emerged from the cloud and that they had just finished setting the sails.  The Nipper looked quite dissapointed,  but was very tired and retired to his bunk gratefully.
Onward...onward...  The spinnaker is still set and apart from some close brushes with wind disturbing clouds,  the day is rolling along and the miles are falling away.
The Nipper came back at about 10:00am  a refreshed man  ....and smiling.
The Prof