ARC Day 9 - Wind South South West Force 6, Squalls, Ra in, Good!

Position           16:05.50N 29:07.27W

Date                2359 UTC Monday 29 November 2010

 

We stayed on the wind through the night sailing west towards St Lucia, nut also into further weather problems.  Watch change at 1000 appeared simple until we noticed two very large black clouds with heavy rain coming our way.  Our first proper squalls of the trip and classic; wind increases, veers and a very heavy downpour.  As we have an adequate supply of water for indoor showers thanks to our water maker there was no need to indulge in that classic sailing trick of stripping off and prancing around the deck with shampoo and a loofa so we sat in the ‘club house’ and looked out mournfully at the rain.

 

The squalls then came in steady succession, the radar image giving us fair warning. With them came a wind shift round to the west which meant that could either head North West or South.  A policy discussion was held looking at the GRIB files, computer files of wind forecasts at intervals over the next 5 days downloaded daily, and we decided that the answer was to motor sail south at best speed t clear this weather system and try again to get to the easterly trade winds.  This plan will take at least 24 hours of motor sailing but is possibly the only way that we are going to get to St Lucia for Christmas.

 

Speaking to other boats that have gone further out west earlier, thinking that they would break through to better winds, they are also coming to the conclusion that a more southerly track I going to have to be tried.  Rather than a single depression forming and moving east there appear to be a steady succession with no mod Atlantic high to keep them at bay.  And the situation does not appear to be getting better behind us.  The Canaries are being battered by the storms of which we, 1,000 miles south are seeing the southern edge.  Anyone thinking to follow a week after the ARC must be well and truly storm bound.

 

We feel very sorry for the ARC organisers as having gone to immense trouble to make this 25th ARC special the weather gods are playing a foul hand.  Nevertheless we are enjoying ourselves – the Mate assures me that her look is a smile and not a grimace; Buntings bacon and egg sandwiches for lunch were definitely good for morale.  As I write this the Mate is taking a well earned kip and the machine says that we are 1,845 nm miles from St Lucia.  This figure will not drop much during the next 24 hours as we head south at 90 degrees to our rhumb line course.