Dodging Storms

Flyer of Lorne
Dave Sturrock
Fri 14 Nov 2008 12:17
36:24.28N 01:49.14W
Thursday 13 No9vember, Day Run 143NM
The dawn started with a steady F3-4  breeze from the North giving us a comfortable reach in bright sunny conditions, a very relaxing sail compared to yesterday's buffeting. This allowed Richard and myself to catch up on some  much needed sleep. After nightfall the wind started to head us once again by coming from the WSW and also decreased to around 7knots. Then just around midnight we found ourselves squeezed by a rapidly forming electrical storm. This was too big to outflank and the decision was made to drop the genoa and motor through between where the main lightning strikes were coming from. We had torrential rain and very cold air as we went beneath this system and the forked lightning and thunderclaps were pretty horrendous at such close quarters. We were certainly less than 1NM from the main centre of lightning, close enough to hear  a loud hissing sound from the lightning strikes. This risky strategy paid off as we cleared through this storm and by around 02:30 this morning we had clear skies and nearly a full moon. The breeze picked up to a good F4 NE which allowed a fast reach once again.However the fun did not last long as around 03:30 a fitting parted on the furling gear at the head of the genoa. Short term I was able to furl the sail and make good progress. Unfortunately this morning when we tried to drop the sail the upper furling ring jammed half way down the foil meaning we cannot currently hoist or lower the sail. We have secured the sail as best as we can to the lee rail and hoisted the storm jib as the foil is out of action. We are currently working on a plan to hoist a strop to allow us to control the furling ring and then orientate it to allow downhaul. Or we may have to hoist Richard in the bosun's chair to try and recover the furling ring and the sail, however the sea conditions are a little rough for this. We have around 170Nm before we reach Gibralter tomorrow afternoon. Looking forward to a short rest and having some more crew on board. Well we never said trhis trip would be easy!