Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Wed 5 Jun 2013 04:11

YYYYYYYYHAAAAAAAA! That's supposed to be the sound cow boys make when they ride a crazy horse or if the take off at full speed on their horses.

But let´s start in yesterdays gloomy atmosphere. No wind, veering almostnowind, big rolling waves, tyred saylors, no speed, no energy, to make it short it was our first day of glooom. Well we did not give up, we had the big light genacker up and tried to get Salsa moving, and moving she was, like an old old cow... The GPS showed that we would be in Fatu Hiva in about 23 days with the current speed.
As night was approaching so where also the squalls (if you want to know what a squall is I try to explain at the bottom of this blogg).
We could see how they gathered all around us, waiting to attack. So we felt that we do not want the genacker out but no other sail would do any job, other than flopp, flogg and flapp. So we decided to start the engine and go by it all night. That would give us peace of mind, some movement and a chance to make 250 litres of fresh water. So off we went, after checking the shaft, we where worried it could have been bent when we hit something or somebody (talk about hit and run) the other night. We had our Penta work at 1700 RPM, and then the watermaker made a sound like an old fishing boat (DUNK-DUNK-DUNK-DUNK). All computers etc where set on charge over the night. And we could sleep to the nice sound of a trusty engine.
Then we had so much luck, it is hard to imagine - yyyyyyyyyyhaaaaaa!
The forecasts said that it should only blow around 10 knots, but we had our own little front of squalls building up behind us, and they started to kick wind in front of them, So at 4am this morning  I could shut the engine and we took off like a leaf in a gale. Since we think this front was very local the water was very calm, just stirred the short fetch from the front to us. We had 20 knots of wind from behind ALL day! That front was following us until short after dinner, then it came up to us, stirred around some 30 knots of wind from another direction, lot's of rain and then it was over, the predicted wind was there for us and 10 knots of wind sure felt like standing still. But soon enought another front caught up and now we are doing 7-8 knots and hopefully it stays behid us.
During the day riding 8-9 knots really felt great, we still had that huge rolling swell under us but it just made the ride more fun.
As we did not fish since we got that big Mahe Mahe ( we only fish to eat) I asked around today if we would like to have fish again now after a pause? Everybody but Andreas was for it so I loaded the reel with our pink squid lookalike and sure enought, now we have fish in the fridge again! Mahe Mahe (5-6 kg). So dinner today was Pasta del Mare with absolut fresh fish and cream.
IF, and I say only IF , we keep up this speed the GPS says we will be in Fatu Hiva in 2 days and 12 hours. But we know how that goes.
A squall is a local weather cell, it is like a very black cloud that rises from the water right up in the sky. It is full of energy from water that has risen. On it s way down in form of rain, sometimes lightning, very often small storms with very very strong winds and  the enrgy is released.. They occurr in warmer waters, so as we sail into such waters they will be more frequent. Same in the Atlantic, when you start on the cold side you would have never heard about them, but as you aproach the Caribean side they start to occur more and more frequent. Squalls are a nuasance because they can destroy riggs, sails etc. Just during the ARC one boat got a squall with spinnacker up and they broke their mast (it never fell but had to be replaced), one was punched down 180 degrees and destroyed their piedestal, so they had no steering wheel etc) and many more destroyed their sails
A squall goes almost the same direction as the wind, they can travel like today at about 7-8-9 knots but they can also take off at much much faster speeds. So as you sail with the wind you have to look at your back. At night we use radar to keep track of them. They are so intence that they show up as if they where a landmass. Actually a squally night can be worse then being on watch in the English channel. The differnce here is also that you really do not know if they will miss or hit you.