Day 4: A Squally Night

Alan & Mary Phypers
Sat 4 Jun 2011 12:56

35:57N 56:30W

450 NE of Bermuda


We had a good days sailing yesterday with wind still on the beam but the current had built to 2.5 – 3 knots against us which reduced our speed from 8 to 5 knots, very frustrating.  Other boats leaving earlier had reported 1-1.5 but not 3!


We had an email from Indra which showed they were about 20 miles behind us – yes behind! Not bad considering they left 5 hours before us.  I put it down to me, Mary, insisting we head east against Alan’s view we head north.  We managed to raise them on the VHF and it was really nice to chat to Charlie after not seeing anyone since we left.  They said they also had 2.5 – 3 knots of current against which confirmed it was real and not just our log over reading.  No response yet to our data request on this, I hadn’t realised we sent it on a Friday evening so back home you were hopefully all out and not at work – you lose track of time a bit out here.  Fortunately the current has reduced to 1 knot against now.


After a nice sunny day the night has turned very squally with lots of lightning.   So much lightning that when I took over from Alan at 0300h, he had taken to hiding below with his book so he couldn’t see it!  Apparently there had been the most dramatic sheet and fork lightning going off every 30 seconds continuously for the last 6 hours.  It was all going on behind us, but we couldn’t tell if it was catching us up. 


I am sitting below tracking the squalls on the ‘raindar’ which is easier than looking into the pitch black sky and  much drier as the waves are now constantly breaking over the cockpit.  So far we have just missed them all but had we been 5 miles further west the whole line of them would have got us – pheww!  I am however poised in all my gear to act, nothing like a bit of squall adrenaline to wake you up for your night watch.


Alan has turned off the sat phone in the vague hope that if we were to be struck by lightning this would somehow protect it so I will send this later.


The squalls seem to have died  for now and it is starting to get light so maybe I’ll venture up on deck and celebrate surviving with a crunchie.  Hmmm looks a bit grim maybe I’ll stay down here and keep dry.   At least on this more southerly route it is still quite warm, traditionally you have to go north to get the wind bringing you into iceberg territory!


Position at 1245UTC



Wind:                    180˚T / 20-25kts

COG /SOG:         080˚T  6.0kts (7.3 through the water  L )