logo Lady Stardust Faro-Portugal to Barcelona - 2010
Date: 09 Dec 2006 17:55:42
Title: We get hit by squalls!

After our half-way celebrations on Thursday, the sea got rough again with waves breaking into the cockpit so we retired below and put the oil lamps and music on while I attempted to cook pasta and pesto during the 35 degree rocking.  This we had sat on the cabin floor with a can of beer each which we wedged into a shoe to keep from spilling.  It's easy to imagine the difficulties of eating and drinking in a boat that is rolling severely so we were glad we followed the advice given in one of the sailing magazines to invest in a couple of deep plastic dog bowls!  It's proved to be one of the most useful of all the tips and hints so far because even in these conditions (always assuming I can get the food into the bowl), the food doesn't spill or move around too much.  We therefore present a rather uncivilized image - sitting on the floor eating out of dog bowls - good fun though.
Thursday night's 12-4am watch was quite rough with mountainous seas, rain showers and the ever-present rolling but it wasn't cold and I kept busy keeping Harriet on course and reading (Delderfield's To Serve Them All My Days).  Friday was much the same with such a huge swell that it was difficult to do anything at all apart from lie in the sun :).  We were in the cabin listening to Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' when we were hit by our first real squall.  It came on very suddenly, the dark cloud that had been quite a way off was suddenly over us, carried 28 knots of wind, heavy rain and created a dark, eerie sky.  We had to act fast because the main sail gybed and I had to steer by hand while Paul sorted it all out.  Down below, Pink Floyd's final track had the ethereal laughs and other atmospheric sound effects while they sang about lunatics and the dark side of the moon- a very fitting background track.  
There were more squalls through the night but Paul fixed the sails so that they could cope with them and I spent my 8-12 watch keeping Harriet on course, staring at the stars and listening to Neil Young on my iPod.
Today (Saturday) began very overcast with thick clouds and drizzle but the sea was a lot calmer and I relished the luxury of making a flask of coffee without risk of scalding myself, falling over and spilling it everywhere.  When Paul got up at 7 30 we made some changes the mainsail, sorted out the topping lift which had come loose in the night, and did a few other chores and then I cooked breakfast just before another squall came along (see pics below).  It's now 3 45 and we're back to looking at blue skies and sunshine outside. 
We have 1,111 miles left to do and still hope to be there on the 17th December.  Tomorrow we are going to put a Christmas tree up in the boat complete with decorations and a star on top so watch out for pics of that.
Bye for now
The dog bowls ready to be filled.
Paul rushing to finish breakfast before the squall hits.
The squall! 9 o'clock this morning.
Another view of it as it approached us.

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