Lightning Squalls and swimming, 24N 34W

IDEA Sailing
Idea Yacht Racing Ltd
Tue 31 Dec 2013 20:34
Good afternoon, Good evening, and Hello from IDEA
AND a big HAPPY Independence day Barbados!!

Today finds us charging through the ocean, white sail reaching again (and
this time we actually have a white sail on). Charging along at 12 knots
more or less pointed at home plate. St. Lucia we are on our way. I hope
you have enough rum for our drinks and water for our showers because we're
coming in hot, smelly, and thirsty.

We've had an eventful day and night of it out here. After an awesome day of
sailing yesterday in relatively smooth seas and breezes we finally managed
to get to and ultimately through the first line of squalls at the edges of
this weather system we've been playing with. As the sun went down the clouds
rolled in and it turned into a dark black night. Another night of no
vision. Well no vision until of course the lightning started. Then for
brief moments we had perfect daylight. Unfotunately those moments would
leave flashes of light in the eyes and completely destroy what little night
vision we had.

All through the beginning part of the night we managed to work around the
squalls, blasting across the front of them or sneaking in behind until
finally we had to confront a deamons love child of a squall. As we started
to poke our nose into the beginning of it there was an all hands on deck
manuver to remove the headsail. The on watch crew said their thank yous and
went back to powering through the night with just the main. Some impressive
speeds were reached while in this configuration too. 17, and 18 knots

Breeze on, there was then an increase in the intensity of the lightning.
Both in frequency and in brightness if that's even possible. Thankfully the
closes strike was probably a mile or two away. Whew cause we don't need to
have anything to do with that on a carbon boat. Then. . . .

Then the rain started. It was almost as if the devil himself had decided to
take a piss on the piece of ocean IDEA was sailing through. It came down
like a faucet turned on. And it rained and it poured and then it stopped. .
. . And then it started again. All through the night we battle through
the line of squalls, and were eventually rewarded with an ease in the
morning. While it was still cloudy the sun did burn off most of the clouds
as we passed through the last biggest hurdle of our trip.

We took the break in the weather to tidy up the boat. The heads were
scrubbed, and the bilges pumped. Personal gear was gathered and restowed.
As we were finishing up with all the chores the breeze completely dropped
out and the sails were simply slatting back and forth. Empty of all driving

Well when the universe gives you lemons you make lemonaid the saying goes.
And so we took the sail down and several crew went for a swim. Not for
particularly long. I think everyone agree's that while it's one of the
coolest things ever, we as humans simply don't belong in there.

With all crew back on board we didn't have long to wait for the breeze to
fill in. Up went the main. Up went the jib and off went IDEA. Reaching in
about 10 knots of breeze. Which of course brings you back to the present.
Reaching along with a 40 degree wind angle, and about 15 knots of breeze.

Now it's time for our last crew introduction. Ben Dale-Jones is for all
intents and purposes the driving force behind this little mission of ours.
He first decided on the crazy idea of crossing the ocean back in 2009 and
has been building on and shaping the VQ Race Team since then. When not
dreaming about charging through the ocean he's a mild mannered finanial
guru. Married with three young boys, he managed to gain their blessing and
support and here we are. In their own minds, "The Dream Team" all getting
ready to cross over into their forties (not necessarily out here). With such
a strong group of close friends Ben managed to get this party started which
at times had to have been like herding cats.

Well done Ben. An admirable mission almost complete. Then next most
important part of this mission after starting it is finishing. After that
comes finishing in front of those boats closest in speed to this one, and we
are looking good to possibly pull that off.

So we'll leave you to go charging off into the night and chew up some more
miles on the route to St. Lucia.

TTFN - Ta Ta For Now