wind and rain

Imagine of Plymouth
Sat 8 Dec 2007 14:21
Just following on from earlier message from our captain I can confirm that we are sailing comfortably towards our target, St Lucia. We are are on the Southern edge of a 500mile wide trough with lots of wind and squalls.
Dinner last night was uneventfull. A lovely pasta with sauce prepared by our shore crew member renate. So easy! In the pan and voila 20 min later you have dinner! Up to 0400 everything was fine and we made very good progress although we yet again had to perform several gybes to stay on track. At times this is difficult to judge because the wind could swiftly turn back again quickly.
Mark started to hit the bad stuff with a long string of squalls hitting him and he had to change direction to the north to keep on sailing downwind. This however brought the waves onto the side of the boat with Arthur partially falling out of his bunk on top of Rudy with clear instructions to do something about it.
We where heading 320 and needed to head 270 so we preformed another gybe with acrobatics performed by Rudy on the foredeck. Luckily we have so many lights on our mast that it lits up like a christmas tree and you have excellent vision on deck.
Rudy prefers to work in the dark on the foredeck but the guys in the back find this a bit disconcerting as they can not see whether he is still there. Anyway a good gybe again and now heading back to St Lucia. Early morning was Ok but than a long string of squalls came through. Yet another gybe and back on track. The not very well forecasted through reaches apprantly 500miles in lenght causing missery to a lot of boats. It is certaily not tropical sailing with full foul weather kit on, rain and blowing 25-30 knots constantly. The waves are of an incrediable size (up to 5-6 meters at least). We have slowed the boat down so not to break anything and now have 50% main out and 30% jib. We are doing a steady 7.5 knots increasing at times to 8.5 knots. Fastest was 16.5 knots down a wave but we are trying to keep things comfortably. Mark and Rudy have done the morning shift and Arthur and Chris doing the afternoon. Robert is still not enjoying anything of this Atlantic crossing which is probably caused by seasickness. He certanly does the most sleeping. Arthur, Rudy Mark are getting an average of 4 hours in 24 hours. we could get more if we slowed down and did not make detours but Admiral Chris has developed the bug for speed and racing. Not sure what our latest position is but we are pretty happy where we are considering our preparation, 3 sailors and 2 novices and huge amount of extra kit we are carring. no lack of comforts. between the squalls yesterday we where able to have our daily showers and get the washing machine to work. if you look at our position remember that there are 34 fully crewed racers included in the ranking.
weather is supposed to ease this evening but we will believe when we see it as much of the forecasts have been unreliable unless you look at them several times a day.
rudy's fingers, which he burned whilst pulling spinnaker down, are recovering nicely. just one huge painfull blister on one. mark supplied some magic drugs (arnica).
we will keep you posted when we can as we know that quite a few boats are having poroblems. please be assured that captain arthur and first mate rudy have seen most types of weather and have taken all necissary precautions to keep things safe and enjoyable for everybody.
good bye for now. only 548 miles to at 1215
16 26 3 N
051 47 43 W
crew of imagine of plymouth!