Day 11

Lee Price
Thu 22 May 2008 18:17
N34.45.40 W059.41.85
Wind F5-6 SSW Heading 050T
The wind calmed yesturday evening and I was able to have a nice chat with mother and father on the sat phone, all was well. But as I was preparing to retire around midnight, something didn't feel right, I was reluctant to take my first nap of the night. Then I realised, it was Black. Now read that again, I don't mean it was dark, that goes without saying, it was nightime. It was Black, I honestly couldn't see the back of the boat 6ft away, like the night had become something tangible that you could grab with your hands and move out of the way to get to see what you where looking at, eerie.
Then, without warning, all hell broke loose, Belzebub doesn't live with fire and fury in the depths of the earth, he stalks the North Atlantic looking for single handed sailors to scare the shit out of!
A wind came and blew the boat from it's SW heading to N and then to E and the rain came down like you cannot know, no really, you cannot know, you have never experienced anything like this in your lives. Like a 1000 fireman turned their hoses on me at once. Sat under the biminey in the cockpit someone may just as well been pouring a bucket of water over my head. Within minutes I was soaked through, even though I was wearing all the proper gear. Visability was absolute zero and how the mast didn't get struck by lightning I'll never know. The lightning was so intense throwing everything into crystal sharp focus and the thunder was simultanious, I'm sure I've had permanent damage done to my hearing. I've never felt so?...............inadequate.
At 0137 we had a slight reprieve as the centre of the cell moved over head before it all started up again and contiued though till 0205. At which point I happened to notice the log on my GPS which I'd reset when I bought the boat last year, it read 1975nm the year I was born. Spooky.
For a further hour or so various cells moved over head and it rained and thundered and lightninged and was generally unpleasent, then around 0330 the skys cleared, the wind died and I could make out the horrizon again.
Within 20mins the wind of the previous day was back but this time accompanied by a monsterous sea, for much of the night I have been in the cockpit fighting the helm and helping the hydrovane keep a steady course. At one point a large breaker broke over the cockpit combing into the cockpit and through the hatch, fortunatly I had the lower washbord in and was at the time standing in the companion way so between us we blocked the worst of it.
I managed a total of 15mins sleep last night which I just had to have, it was desperate, and a further 20mins after dawn when things improved somewhat. It's still madly rough and I'm still sailing under reefed down main alone but I am still making good progress toward my next waypoint and despite being supreamly uncomfortable, we are getting there.
I cheered myself up with a shave and a shower this afternoon and felt much better for it.
I new I was expecting this trip to be hard in places, but without doubt the last 36hrs have been the hardest thing I have ever done. Don't ask me if I'd do this again just yet, I might well say no.