Day 17 - 159nm -

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Mon 5 Jan 2015 13:04
14:47.84N 53:04.64W

Never a dull moment. The weather has decided to give us the complete Atlantic Experience - Squalls - strong winds and rain. It started around 6.30pm. last night. Skies darkened and we quickly finished supper as we were sat in the cockpit. The wind got up and the heavens opened - so much rain that David was able to have a rain shower . Because the weather is all coming from behind the boat firstly you can see the black clouds and rain coming and secondly the boat even with the wash boards in, hatch across and now the spray hood up quite a lot of water is coming into the cabin around the companionway. A mopping up operation. There is also a drip above where I am sleeping at present in the stardboard berth in the main cabin which I felt on and off all night. We are not sure where that is coming from.

Sometimes it only the wind increasing other times it comes with rain as well. Dan managed a rain shower in the middle of the night and he said the rain just obliterated the sea and sky it was so heavy.

Their estimate is at its height the wind has been getting up to 40 knots - Gale Force 8 ! On Dan's tablet which has a GPS it showed a speed of 14 knots - we not sure whether the boat achieved this or whether it was the tablet falling off the shelf. David has just checked the log and it shows a boat speed of 16.8 knots which beats his record of 14 knots in The Pentland Firth ! The weather forecast from the Grib Files and from ' our man on shore ' did not predict this strength - we knew we were in for some increased wind over the next few days but not this. The men have been taking the poled Genoa in and out all night. Once one squall gone through it all becomes quiet, the boat slows and they think ah ' more sail ' and the whole process starts again. We are aiming to keep the boat at maximum of 8.5 knots to keep control in the waves - clearly we didn't manage that last night. They've just said that too fast for a Rustler !!

This weather has continued on and off all night and it's still going this morning. Bouncy breakfast sat in the cockpit. We've had some attempts at videoing the waves I, with my I pod and Dan with his Go-Pro up the mast and on the bow but we not having a lot of success.

It has been pointed out to me it could have been like this all the way across - all I can say is thank goodness it hasn't been. It would have been really wearing.

To add to all the excitement I mentioned in yesterday's blog the stay sail was jammed. Unfortunately they were unable to sort ( they think the problem is at the top of the mast and have no intention of going up there ) so the staysail been taken off now and they'll look at it when we get there.

So we just waiting to see when we do the fix at 1.00pm UCT which is when we send this to see if we have a record 24 hours re. distance? At 7.00am this morning we had 399.7 nm. to go. Several ships have passed us in the night and Dan saw a dolphin, other than that we hanging 'on and in ' and we think we should be near Barbados late Wednesday but we then have to sail down the west side to Bridgetown and Carlisle Bay which is where we believe we shall anchor to await the arrival of Alex and the children who should be with us around lunchtime.

Stop Press : Dan just checked the auto pilot mounting and it's all still firm - phew!