Weather weather and more weather...

Sat 3 Dec 2011 15:43
Saturday 3rd December 2011 15:14:00N 43:47:00W

We're on day 3 of the Advent calendar and are feeling quite festive after a visit from Balthazar, following a star, at happy hour on Thursday night courtesy of Susan. Gold (Lemon), Frankinsence (Gin) and Mhyrr (Tonic) all round and a festive game of pub quiz with retro sweeties (think sherbert dips and refreshers) for prizes. Lots of fun indeed. And a good chill out after a long night the night before...

Wednesday night on mine and Trevors watch (everything happens on my and Trevors watch!) the wind started to creep up into the mid 20 knot problem...27...ok...30...gulp...but the 43 year old sail, as yet untested, held on...and held on...unfortunatley the Red Baron was just too good for poor Otto Helms in the lazarette who couldn't keep up so some serious hand steering was required which was a small issue as neither myself nor Trevor were feeling terribly confident hand steering in the dark with the spinnaker in 30 knots plus of wind and rather a large sea...Skipper to the rescue and helming 101 class scheduled for the two dunces the next day!

Thursday morning with the wind still blasting and Otto back on the helm we got overpowered and boom...the tack line (rope joining the Baron to the Bow Sprit) gave...that is one strong sail! A smooth recovery and rehoist and we were back on again and storming along. With everyone now well used to the strong wind and 3-4 metre seas life returned to normal although the bouncy conditions and high spinnaker alerts meant I had to enforce a galley closure so we were into 'storm food' rations for lunch. Now before I developed sea legs my storm food lunches involved throwing a pack of biscuits at everyone and throwing whatever I'd had for breakfast over the side!! Thankfully those days have long passed and so we managed to knock up a cheese and pate bowl with crispbread for each crew member, with a glass of Albarino white to wash it that's my kind of storm food!

Thursday night passed without drama but with continued strong winds and we awoke on Friday to a beautiful sunny day. Suncream and swimwear all round (albeit dubious shorts from one crew member)

Trevor had to adapt his bar to deal with the conditions...with Bad Bobs Beer Bar...all the Thrills, Less Spills!! This was much needed after a quiet afternoon sunbathing and chilling went bananas when we got our first proper squall come through...typically whilst I was in the shower!! I felt the boat get overpowered, heard a couple of yells and ran on deck throwing whatever clothes I could grab on and still covered in suds! see a very big scary looking wind spout( sort of water tornado) pass 100yards off the bow...we scrambled to get the Baron down just as the hail started pelting us - in seconds it was over and everything back to normal and I finished my shower and chores in time for happy hour followed by a lovely roasted butternut squash and smoked salmon risotto!

Last night was a quiet one again until...yes you've guessed and Trevor came on shift at 6am this morning. Half an hour in and just as the sun started to rise we could see the forms of some very beefy looking clouds sneaking up on us...We'd both had intensive helm training the day before so as soon as Otto Helms had had enough Trevor took over and steadied the old girl with the Baron flying proud...and then the rain'll blow through in minutes...they always do...well I don't know if we took a wrong turn last night but no this wasn't a squall this was Scotland...3 hours later it's grey, cold and we are soaked through. The wind never picked up massively and the Baron was on form until we noticed some major chaffing in the Halyard...all hands on deck and down came the Baron again...a spot of mending from Nick and back up she went and we all dived out of the rain for venison sausages and scrambled eggs in the saloon leaving Steve and Raman on watch...and then the wind for the first time in days the Iron Sail is pushing us along waiting for the next squall or wind rise.

We've done our blind ballot sweepstake of arrival dates and times which will be opened on arrival with each crew member putting a prize in the pot for the winner...I'm donating my hula hoop, Trev his head torch and Nick a boozy lunch!

Steve is currently whipping up something very garlicy for lunch and the sun is finally creeping out. The skipper is making a strong bid for the covetted Golden Duvet award, Raman will have to watch out! And we've just spotted the first yacht in a few days so we all have to jump around excited and waving frantically :-)

This time next week we may even be in St Lucia...although secretly...and don't tell Hula Hoop is on next Sunday 2pm local time...

This blog was brought to you by Karen, because everyone else is sunbathing right now :-)