Sunday 20th November – 500 mils to run to Bar bados. 13.52.45N 51.12.23W
Sunday 20th November – 500 mils to run to Barbados.
We are well into day 12 of our adventure – calmer seas and favourable winds push as swiftly towards our destination. Life on board has settled into a routine of watches, eating and sleeping.
As we move West we have encountered a number of Squalls- these are basically small thunderstorms common in this area. The strong sun shines on the warm sea and huge volumes of water evaporate each day to form these moisture laden monsters .These clouds quickly grow in size until they can carry no more water so they dump what they have and the result is a localised rain shower of biblical proportions. These may only last for a few minutes but it enough to wash and rinse the boat of the encrusted salt that has accumulated on her over the last 12 days.
We monitor the approach of these Squalls with our radar which can to some extent predict their movements so we do have some warning however the Radar will only display rain – it does not display the huge increase in wind speed and dramatic change in direction that these squalls put out.
Squalls mainly occur at night although we have seen an increasing number of daylight squalls over the last few days. It is tempting to speculate that the strong wind will pass you by and therefore there is no need to reduce sail- be warned a number of Rally Yachts have “Blown” sails out over the last few days (Blown is a sailors term for “Blown to Shreds”)
On Stormbreaker we study the radar and if in any doubt we reduce sail. With the damage already sustained to our mainsail we can’t take any chances. So the last few days has involved a fair amount of activity as we watch clouds and reduce then increase .sail
As we move West we must contend with that common question asked on passage – What time is it - mainly to establish the proximity of the next meal.
As we progress each day the sun rises and sets later each day and whilst the boat time is (UTC is PC for GMT) the time at our destination, Barbados, is in fact 4 hours behind UTC
We use UTC so we can keep track of the times of radio nets to talk to other Rally participants. VHF, the normal radio used for inter ship only has a range of 20-30 miles so with our fleet spread-out over hundreds of miles we use our SSB Radio to chat and have designated times when this happens – all UTC.
So the good news is that it is always meal time on board Stormbreaker as we mix and match between time zones. As we close Barbados we will have to adjust our watches, eating and sleeping patterns in time for arrival.