Talulah's Log - not so fast going!!

Talulah's Web Diary
Paul & Anette Morris
Wed 13 Dec 2006 21:09
position "14:22.971N 50:49.589W"
Wednesday 13th December 2006
Just after coming on watch at 2 this morning, a sudden 90 degree veer in the wind, and some foreboding black clouds hiding the moon, told me we were in for a "surprise".   So I called Anette and we got our spinnaker down in double quick time, and then waited.   After about 15 minutes we were hit with a maelstrom of rain and wind which lasted for 20 minutes and left us - with no wind again!!   All that rain however, did clean the boat (it needed it as it was still grimy with African dust!).   Next time that happens I'll stand outside with a bar of soap I think........   But the wind also parted my lazy-jacks and I spent an uncomfortable half hour climbing around the lower mast and the boom in the dark fixing it all.
We also saw another yacht's lights on the horizon last night - almost a cause for celebration as its a few days since we've seen anyone or anything!
The pace now is agonizingly slow.   We have tried just about every combination of sail that we have in an effort to go a little faster, but they just kept banging and slatting about, loosening the stitches, so we put them away, and for a few hours at dawn we had to put one of our engines on to give us propulsion.   The parasail spinnaker has been up and down like a yo-yo and we are now (almost!!?) experts at deploying it and getting it down in any sea and weather state.  
The day has been hot and sticky, with the sun always behind a thin layer of high cloud.   The weather forecast shows the wind increasing tomorrow, and clearer weather ahead....Thats the forecast anyway, and you know how 'accurate' they are!!   I'll drink to that tonight.
A point of interest.....did you know that Columbus was not the first 'civilised' man to 'discover' the West Indies and the Americas?   He was apparently beaten by Admiral Zheng He of the Chinese Navy in 1421.   Zheng He set off from Malacca with a vast Armada and sailed not only to America, but also to Africa, Greenland, South America where he charted the Caribbean, then went on round the Horn chart Patagonia and islands in the Pacific - even to Australia and New Zealand.   And....his navigators even perfected a method of determining Longitude centuries before the Europeans.   Not much is recorded however because in the mid fifteenth century following a complete reversal of their foreign policy, the Chinese destroyed all documents and references to anything beyond its own shores, and even made it a crime for people to even speak a foreign language!
That was a little serious wasn't it...!?   So on a more humorous note - our cockpit is festooned with toilet rolls and kitchen rolls!  There is quite a festive atmosphere out there!!   They got a good soaking last night.