Squalls - 30 knot winds, rain and 4 metre waves overnight

Andy Gibb
Thu 20 Jan 2011 17:19
We are at 9:54.92N 38:53.20E Last night was forecast to be relatively calm - but the forecasts rely on input from ships and there are no shipping lanes within 300 miles of where we are, and no land within 1000 miles, so the forecasts can be wrong - and they were. Far from a peaceful night, we spent from 9pm to 9am dodging squalls which brought 30 knot winds, shifting in direction by 30-40 degrees so we had to change our sail plan, 4 metre waves which sometimes surfed Intrepid at 8 knots, sometimes left us in a trough wallowing without wind as it passed over the top, sometimes just rolled us then corkscrewed us, then threw us up 1 metre from our bunk then rolled 30 degrees left then 30 degrees right - you get the idea. Meanwhile the noise of ropes creaking as they stretch, blocks groaning as they are put under considerable strain, glasses clinking as they roll together, saucepans and their lids bashing together, sails flapping as the waves and the roll take their wind then fill again. OK, I know its not cold, its not icy, conditions on British roads and public transport are far worse, but at night on a yacht in a squall sometimes it makes even cool Britain which doesnt rock nor roll seem very pleasant as a place to sleep.
But come the dawn we blearily recounted tales of exqusite moonlight on the high seas, the stormy petrel (a tiny sea bird) which perched on our fender a few nights ago, and the rain squalls which gave Intrepid a welcome shower. Then lunch on seared wahoo with sweetcorn and mayo and Nic's freshly baked bread, and life seems good, we are now only 840 miles from Cayenne in French Guyana 6 days to go or so, we are starting to look at the maps, there is a small jetty we think we can tie to, Nic dreams of there being a hose with fresh water, (dream on), we can rent a car, explore, and Martin and Jonny are thinking about when and how they can get a flight back to UK.

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