Day 6

Graeme and Chris
Sat 17 Dec 2011 14:12
20:11.87N 22:14.62W    Another interesting night.  We had a comfortable 20kts until about 0200 then the wind increased as sheet lightning started to light up the sky way to the east.  Within 15 minutes we had a constant 35-37 knt wind gusting to 42kts (for the non-sailors amongst you reading this that is fairly breezy for a small boat and quite dramatic when accompanied by lightning).  With only the full staysail up we were doing 9 knts.  Thankfully, after about 45 mins the wind eased back to 20+ but the lightning show stayed for sometime.  Yesterday Graeme worked out what was wrong with the hydrovane and did some running repairs whilst hooked on with his harness line off the stern.  At one stage when a wave curled over the stern he was waist deep and momentarily treading water but held on to the grabrail as the water emptied out of the cockpit again.   The good news is that the Hydrovane is working again properly and coped amazingly well with the 40kts.  At dawn this morning we were surprised to see the whole boat covered in red  dust (rom the Sahara?).  The temperature has also rocketed up and we feel that we are in the tropics now.
At the moment we are surrounded by dolphins and cruising along in about 15 kts of wind which feels like we are becalmed!  
All is well on board S/V Toots and I’m going to cook a proper dinner this afternoon now that things are a little calmer.  We are thinking of a pit stop in the Cape Verdes Islands as we are going to pass very close and would be a shame not have a look – and perhaps clean of the red dust that seems to have found it’s way everywhere on board........... and perhaps an odd beer or two? Smile