Day 11: Serenity & squalls

Jan Morten Ruud
Fri 4 Dec 2009 13:05
Dear readers,
oh what a day yesterday was! For the first time since we left Las Palmas, we had a day where we could
* eat from real plates put on a real table without fear of food flying furiously in fabolous formations. (you know - kind of like when astronauts are eating in space)
* walk around the boat almost like one does ashore (you know - without holding onto an edge or something as if your life depended upon it)
* practise sailing with the Gennaker. (And boy it simply looks beautiful. Bright and red and big and very effective when wind speed is low)
So as you may imagine, yesterday was really nice. Speed? Very low. Did it matter? Not at all. We needed a break from the waves and the winds. And we got really good at using the gennaker which was up all day. And Vibeke baked her super-duper chololate cake, and Jan Morten opened a nice bottle of Rioja, and there was great peace and harmony aboard.
But it turned out to be quiet before the real quiet before the storm. (And let us rush to soothe worried readers that we are talking about a storm in abstract terms and not in storm as in winds of more than 30 meter per second or whatever it is!). After dark we experienced winds of three meter per second which means that a well rested one-year old can crawl faster than Ronja can sail. And while it is pleasant for a while, the crew and her boat got really restless. And since the engine really needed a checkup and since we have 320 liters of diesel and since we're soon 75% there and bla bla bla we started the engine. And we sped ahead at six knots. It's strange how relative speeds feel. 48 hours ago, 6 knots would've felt like a major slowdown. Last night we could feel the G-forces thunder ahead when we trebled the speed from two to six knots.
So we roared ahead with the engine on until we realized that the winds had picked up again into a nice little breeze. And then we made what we in hindsight will have to admit was a wrong call. We hoisted the sails, and then we checked the radar, and then we realized immediately that the nice little breeze was the start of a nice big tropical squall. And the winds increased and we had one heck of a time taking down the sails. (Insight: If you ever have the choice between taking down sail in calm and sunny conditions or on a squally night, you should always choose the former.....)
And after the nice big squall came what we now refer to as Tianaman square. There was holy peace all over the place and  - well - the engine could really use a second checkup and we have after all 318 liters of diesel left and bla bla bla - so we started the engine for the second time. (The thing is that you're allowed to start your engine but it must be reported and we will get some sort of penalty whose details escape us but we're pretty sure it won't involve jail time.)
BUT NOW WE'RE BACK! The wind is a perfect 10 meter per second, the sun is up, there were oranges left for breakfast, and all squalls must have gone to hell because we for sure cannot see any in the sky anymore.
And that was all the news from your affectionate crew aboard S/Y Ronja. Thank you for all mails and comments - keep them coming! Tomorrow we will share with you our new business plan code named "Whale whisperer" which we are very excited about!
Best regards from
Vilde, Vibeke, Stian, Snorre, Jan Morten & harrall
Coordinates:   W47.06.125., N18.32.140

Distance totalt current rute: 2720 Nm
Sailed distance last 24 hours: 129 Nm
Sailed distance since start:1962 Nm
Distance left (current route to St. Lucia):