Worst things happen at sea.

Paul Huntley
Thu 4 Dec 2008 16:13
Good after noon to all our blog watchers,I am a little late today because of the weather ,more later !
Yesterday afternoon passed with little to report, dinner being the highlight of the day cooked by Dave, We started with knuckle of pork with carrots boiled potatoes and peas, followed by a Birds packet creation ,creme caremel.mixed by yours truly. A very pleasant end to the day.
We have been running down wind on poled out Genoas for several days now and as winds were light we decided not reef as we do normally at night.You have guessed it, the wind increased during James watch to prompt him to reef, at about 02:15 I woke up to a howling wind ,Nick on watch and the boat running at more than 7 Knots out of control. I called James on deck to help reef yet again,settling the boat down to a 6 to 6:5 speed.
I handed my watch over to Dave and briefed him on the conditions, His watch had nearly ended at 08:00 with Bob taking over when these ominus black clouds came marching towards us from the north east,Bob responed very quickly by furling all sails and starting the main engine,this brought me from a fitful sleep and the aft cabin in seconds. Bob explained the situation and noticed the wind was boxing the compass but, within a minute or two the wind came screaming down upon us at 30 knots with high seas to match, as this nightmare unfolded the seas grew to waves in excess of four metrs with the top being blown off, we clocked the wind at 40 knots, For the non nautical that is a full gale and a bit.With Bob on the wheel we motored into wind and seas for more than three hours before the wind began to abate, James cooked some breakfast while I went on deck to survey the damage, a broken up and downhaul tang in the pole and that was it .We were very lucky that Bob acted so quickly,well done Bob, an extra Bonio for you to night! seriously thanks Bob ,but for you I could be writting a different story.For most of the crew this was the first time they had been in a full gale in a small boat and I am sure it was frightening experience for them We had a call from a french yacht  on VHF just now on our starboard quarter by seven cables say that the squall had blown there Genoa to ribbons, the are bound for Martinique.I have decided to return to the two person watch tonight to ensre we can cope with similar squalls.
We have achieved 1405 miles on the trip log at noon and have declared Thursday the 4th December 2008 our halfway day, so weather permitting a party tonight to celebrate,I hop it.s all down hill from here on.Libertad did just fine once again, took it all in her stride,at the height of the Squall I likened Libertad to an old lady : she is a liitle smelly and leaks a bit, she has a wealth of experience after twenty years at sea,we call her home for the moment.I did manage to keep our SSB radio net and logged our position as of noon today.
Bob is sitting oposite me writing in his note pad furiosly his version of the perfect storm, I will just throw a bucket of salt water over him to get him in the right mood.He is waiting to use the computer so will blog again tomorrow ,Enshala, best wishes and love to all Paul.