Fire and water

SY Coral IV
Kolbjørn Haarr and Otto Hulbak / Morten Persson
Tue 11 Dec 2012 12:22
We ran through the night before the squally trades, running nine and ten knots at a time through the inky night and enjoying the feeling of being thrown bodily forward by the big following swells. We are all very tired of night watch, but I still find it the best time to ponder irrelevant details of my life that I haven’t had time to examine up until now. In the morning I awoke to the drumming of torrential rain on the deckhead. It was pissing down, and the violent motions of the boat suggested that the wind and waves were not being terribly helpful either. Cursing the helmsman, I struggled into my clothes and faced the full misery of the tropics at their rainiest. The boat seemed to be getting hurled continuously on its side while the sails flogged horribly. It was a lull between squalls and a lumpy confused sea had been whipped up and was now throwing us around in a malevolent manner.

In the midst of this misery, the spinnaker pole worked loose and, clearly having had enough, hurled itself over the side and proceeded to turn cartwheels in the water, spinning around and clattering against the hull. Ivory and I fished it out and put it back together. Thankfully it was still intact. Shortly after this I took the helm as we were enveloped in a torrential squall, with the wind blowing over 30 knots, we surfed down the waves at 12 knots. It was a good way to wake myself up.

The only other incident of note was Carl’s attempt to finish the ARC early by setting the yacht on fire. He has been ‘Kock’ all of today and was working very hard to rustle up some delight for dinner. I was cleaning the toilet and a quick sniff of the air suggested that dinner was going to be a nasty affair as the food reeked of burning plastic. At this point I realised that the gas ring igniter had fallen onto the flame and was now burning merrily. I hurled it overboard with alacrity. Carl assures us all that these igniters do not explode, but it’s not something I would like to put to the test. Anyway, the dinner was delicious.

Night has fallen and we are currently aiming for Georgetown, Guyana. Sounds lovely. We were surrounded by huge squally clouds as night closed in and I’m pretty convinced it’s going to be a damp watch tonight. 500 miles to go!