A Few Ups and Downs
Sunday 4th December – 2330 GMT
This has been a most frustrating and tiring day. Shortly after the last blog posting at a little after midnight today we were hit by a very large squall. Squalls are a fact of life and no weather forecast can help you much beyond saying that there is a reasonable probability of their happening. This one was different in that it was more violent than most, there was a lot of rain and it took a good hour to pass through us. During that time all that Tim, at the helm, could do was drive off downwind with it - which, of course, prolonged our acquaintance with it. Moreover, we were trying to go west and were driven north at considerable speed. We'd had Percy up and getting him down in strong winds and darkness is not a lot of fun. So, we had to wait until the worst had gone before we did so and were able to return to our intended track. In the meantime, some of the distance we'd made up on Cochise disappeared.
The rest of today has been spent battling with very fickle winds. They ought to be coming from the east or ESE. So they have been for some of the time. In these circumstances Percy is hauled up from below decks and invited to romp at the mast head. That takes a good 20 minutes of pretty hard work from everyone aboard - on watch or not. That works for a bit - but not very long. Because the weather gods, fully aware of what we're up to in trying to get west at best speed, delight in frustrating the ambition. They send the winds in from the south at considerable speed. What fun it must be forcing yachts to turn at right angles to their intended course and struggle to recover one set of sails and replace them with another. And, just a soon as they've done that they'll send the little devil they employ to badger the skipper. "Look", he'll say "The wind has gone back again. You could fly your spinnaker again. And, you know you'd go a good knot faster. Now, how far ahead did you say XYZ was?"
Tonight we've put Percy to bed. As a result I wouldn't be surprised if the entire night is squall free. Tough - we're through with being the playthings of the childish weather gods. We'll all feel a lot better for a reasonably undisturbed night with just the normal watches to worry about.