14:59.36N 36:07.38W

Wed 1 Dec 2010 12:38
After a pretty uneventful day yesterday (apart from finally reaching the halfway mark...hoorah!. We all had a glass of wino to celebrate!) come yesterday evening, just after our chilli and glass of celebratory vino no less, the sky turned very black! I know what you're thinking.."James, it's called night time....You've been at sea way to long!). But although night time was imminent, that was not the cause of the 'premature' darkening of the sky. We all stared expectantly as we looked around us and the only piece of sky for 360 deg which did not look ominous was the bit directly above us! Now I'm usually a glass half full type of guy, but even I was struggling to spin this in my own head as, ooooh! lucky us! It was clear we were trapped in the middle of it all.

SO, I figured the best thing to do, as we couldn't anything about it was to put the blinkers on, run through a reefing down procedure with the crew and then just ignore it and hope for some blind luck....... And sure enough, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm passed and nothing apart from a light south easterly breeze. (It should be embarrassed to call itself a "trade win" but I fear thats what he is pretending to be and its the best we're gonna get for a few days!) So we continued to meander through this very disturbed looking sky at around 5 knots, the only positive being that if we did get walloped by a squall, at least we could maximize it and smash through it at speed actually enjoying some sailing!

And so my watch began at 9pm, and apart from a whole load of press ups, sit ups and reading the most fun (gruesome) chapters of my ships captains medical, still nothing happened. There was a lot of electrical activity in the sky and it was similar to a scene out of twister, but played at 0.25 speed..... and in a boring bit probably trying to set the love story part up more than the action bit..... Oh and we didn't have a dorothy thing with lots of tiny little flying machines in it.... in fact it was absolutely nothing like twister!

So 10pm, 11pm passed and I thought, good oh! looks like we might be lucky tonight. Midnight came and the watch changed and I stayed up on deck on standby (we had a man down to the sever illness of alarm clock under pillowitus!... I can't single him out because in fairness they've all missed a watch now through the same ailments, well apart from my right hand man Roberto who's as reliable as an expensive swiss watch!)

By 1am the first squall touched down 12 Nm SW of us. As we were traveling in a Westerly direction I sat for 5 minutes to watch it track and see where the little blighter was headed. As I did, it rapidly increased in size to around 6Nm wide and began to charge directly at us. We turned to a NW course and tried to out run it. As we did, his little brother appeared directly North west of us at 10Nm range. Knowing which way the other was tracking we held our course and hoped he's back down in this little boat versus big old mother nature, game of chicken. Obviously, he was annoyed at this and began to converge with his brother. Now I know this can't be, but it was. Maybe the squall just developed in our direction as opposed to traveling our way, but either way, our little route out was getting narrower. Jeremy just said "thread the needle?" in a sort of unexpectant but hope full way, so we continued our course. The only other option was turning on our heel and running away, but we had already done that once this trip and my ego was still a little to bruised to do it again just yet! Mother nature was gonna get it this time. I felt like Captain Dan out of Forest Gump.... But with legs!

Anyway, it turns out my obstinate pride was right as another squall dropped directly behind us, less than 1Nm away. And then rapidly 2 more flanked him. We could now safely consider ourselves to be...... a bit cooked with and F! So the wind increased, in every direction know to man all at once and we continued to track and hold our course! Long story short, not a drop of rain touched the deck and after our game of space invaders with real life consequences, we popped out the other side having "threaded the needle!"

Very happy with life and with the sky clearing and the stars beginning to twinkle again in the sky I toddled of to bed feeling like Moses! It was a very peaceful night and I slept like a log (I've never know what that means, but you know the expression!).

At 8am there was a little knock at my cabin door.
"Morning, yes what is it?"
"James, its Robert. I could do with some advice. There is a little squall and its tracking right for us."
I thought, move over, Moses here will save you all! " No problem robert!"
I opened my cabin door and turned on my Radar. AH! Erm perhaps I'd met my match!! There was a 48 Nm wide system full of squalls which had all joined together to maker one giant on. I think the guys from the night before had gone home and told their dads, who were none too pleased with my cocky escape from their sons ambush the night before.

So, up on deck. we reefed down and changed our course to smash straight through the belly of it and right angles. It was great, wet but great! We took off at speed and fired out the back of it! On a down side, we are still sat deep in the rain cloud, which looks like its here for the duration and the wind has completely left us again.... which is why, if I'm honest, todays blog has been longer than usual. It's dry in front of my PC!

Thats unfortunately all for today. I wish we could move a bit faster. It'd be great to be there for my birthday but Alas, it looks like I'll be spending it with the sea! Hey ho!

Lots of love to all from all aboard a very wet LBB

Team LBB