Donner und Blitzen
No sooner had I posted the last blog than all hell broke loose on deck. The heavens opened, and the wind, which had been blowing from the South West, Force 5,almost instantaneously slammed into us from the North East at Force 5. We were completely unprepared for this reversal, and no-one had on their wet weather gear. However it was all hands on deck to shorten sail and get the boat back to some semblance of order (except your esteemed blogger – well, there’s no point in everyone getting drenched.) The wind continued for half an hour, reaching over 30 knots at one point, and then went down to complete calm, and we had to motor for the next hour and a half. The rain continued to fall torrentially and when the storm had passed, a glass in the mug holder was found to have two to three inches of water in the bottom – impressive! In addition to this, we were surrounded by huge thunder claps and lightening strikes. The wind reverted to its original direction for the afternoon, and the waves built up to a good 2 1/1 to 3 metres. This was the North Atlantic that we had all been expecting. The shearwaters were enjoying it too, zooming around at what seemed like 100 mph.
The upshot of the storm was that the inverter that transforms 12 volt power to 220 volts, was knocked out – three red lights. We watched with bated breath while John turned the control box on and off. To our immense relief three green lights appeared. We could have continued the journey without the 220 volt supply – the navigation instruments weren’t affected, but it would have been seriously inconvenient. In particular, we would have lost our slow cooker which is in daily use, saving our precious gas supply.
Once everyone was dry, comfort food was the order of the day. Chris prepared hot chocolate for everyone, and then he and Fernande used the last of the bananas, now almost black, to bake a delicious banana cake.
During the evening and overnight, the wind went down and down and we lolloped along very uncomfortably in the swell left by the storm. A day of contrasts. Our quickest watch clocked up 27 miles in three hours, and our slowest watch clocked up only 12 miles – a record, both of them.