logo Gudrun V
Date: 05 Jun 2011 18:23:19
Title: Becalmed

Sunday, 05.06.2011, 13:00 local (1:00 UTC), 12:55.8N, 072:24.1W (44nm north of Cabo de la Vela, Colombia).
 
It is five pm. The wind just dropped, earlier than usual. We drift dead in the water. Again. I dry to fire the engine again. Nothing, no surprise. But fortunately the engine can be cranked by hand. I get the crank lever and put it into the socket. I start cranking but don't get far. The engine is mounted too deep inthe boat and a strut blocks the way. Spanish engineering, I think. I try anyway, but to no avail. I am dripping sweat. Liz looks at me and laughs. I laugh back.
 
I drop the main sail because it's making so much noise. I return to the cockpit, and feel a breeze on my cheek. Typical. Just when I drop the sail, the wind starts up again. I stop. This is not right, the wind is coming from the other direction than before. And strengthening. So that thundercloud that has been hanging out all afternoon to the west is moving in after all. And I had been suspicious of the one to the east. Ha, got me.
 
Lightning strikes the water, maybe two miles away from the direction of the wind. Not good. We hurry to lash everything down. I furl up the genoa except for a bit and set course hard to starboard, to avoid the center of the thundercloud, I hope. We go below. I disconnect the GPS and Radio. We sit and wait. It is very hot inside. From outside we hear rain, lightning and thunder. Gudrun has no windows, so we don't see what's going on. A scene from the movie "Das Boot" comes to my mind. The submarine is depth-charged by a allied destroyer. They dive deep and stay quiet. "Jetzt wird's psychologisch" says the 2nd Watch Officer to the accompanying war correspondent Lt. Werner.
 
It's nine pm, the thundercloud has passed to the south-east where it highlights the sky on a twelve mile wide front in bright flashes. A little wind remains, and I unfurl the genoa and head further west, away from the spectacle. Soon the rain stops. The night passes slowly. The boat rolls and clangs and bangs a lot, and I can find no rest. Two more times I raise and drop the main sail. It seems heavier every time. Why am I doing this again? Because it's fun and an easy life-style. Yeah, right.
 
Today there is still no wind. I start to work on the engine. I remove the starter-motor and open it. A brown sauce and little bits ooze out. Not good. I clean it up and put it back together, not believing that it will do much good. But I have to try. I test it. It doesn't work. Well, so much for that. I climb into the cockpit and look at the sea. The water looks inviting.
 
The sea here is 2200m deep, clear, and very blue. I'm scared of going in, and so is Liz. I go first. Liz brings me the diving mask and I have a look around. I am amazed at how clear it is. I can make out every barnacle on the hull of Gudrun. And there is a little fish swimming with us, just below the keel. But it is unnerving. The sea is too big, and I am too small. Liz goes next. We take some pictures. We have lunch. We wait. According to the weather forecast we'll have some more waiting to do. I don't expect to arrive in Santa Marta before Tuesday. More time to try stuff with the engine.
 

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