Stormy Weather

James Blackburn
Fri 10 Jul 2009 15:09

10 July 2009 noon 39:05.794N 37:52.000W



The day started being a little bit calmer than the last few days but by 4pm the wind had come up, the seas were getting bigger and it was raining pretty hard.


At 6pm Jamie popped his head up through the rear companionway and as casually as he could he told us that, there were 2 low pressure systems to the north of us that would be coming together to make a very large low stretching about 600 miles. Worse was that we were on the outside of it, where the winds would be strongest, but apparently we were not to worry as the winds would not get much stronger than about 25 knots and would not last more than 18 hours. The cherry on the cake was the fact that after this we would be in the high and have glorious sunshine and light breazes.


On the positive side the winds only lasted about 7 hours at their strongest, but on the negative side he was wrong about the strength, the winds reached a consistent force 8 gusting 9, at one point we had 40 knots showing on the wind speed meter plus the 10 knots of boat speed, drops of water flying of the waves felt like hypodermics on your skin. The waves were completely chaotic, coming from all directions, and thowing up massive peaks.


The winds reached their peak at about 4am fortunately after sunrise, so at least we could see what we were doing. We also had dolphins dancing around the boat at about this time playing in the waves like it was a giant playground, this just made the whole scene absolutely bizarre and I really wish I had my camera.


At 5 am we saw the front beginning to come through, and thought that relief was close hand. By 7am we passed through the front and the wind and sea dropped. By 9am the sun had come out, the sea was a beautiful blue and the wind was a gentle 15 knots still directly behind us.


I have to say that although the last 6 days have had their scary moments, at no time did I feel unsafe, the boat, an F&C 44 handled everything fantastically, it swam through the water like a dolphin gracefully and powerfully.


We covered 175.8nm in the last 24 hours at an average speed of 7.3 knots and had a maximum speed of 15.4 knots.