Mad dash to the south-west

Fri 7 Jun 2019 09:08
42:26.14N 019:43.56W
Too windy to rig the satcom antenna yesterday (Thu),
As expected making progress on Wednesday night was a challenge until the
forecast NW wind turned up. For few hours we were tacking to and fro in a
light WSW on the nose, and a lumpy sea left over from stronger winds during
the day. Starboard tack was definitely the gaining tack but was taking us
back into a cyclonic mini-feature on the left side of the course, whilst port
was actually away from the Azores. During the midnight handover it was
decided to bite the bullet and take a dig to the right away from the
cyclonic feature and towards the new NW wind. Mike had a difficult few hours
but when I came back on watch at 0300 we were bowling along in a fresh NNW
wind and rain squalls with one reef in the main. During my watch this became three
reefs during a particular vicious squall, then back to one, and finally two
as the wind settled at a steady F5-6 which lasted for 18 hours.
Trundling along at 8-9kts in the pitch dark (there is no moon at the moment) is scary because you can't see the cloud formations indicating imminent squalls. Nor can you see the waves approaching the boat so there is no opportunity to anticipate movement just lightening quick reactions when the boat suddenly lurches. Moving around the cabin is also tricky. Always have one hand holding on to something, and (like a rock climber) know what your next hold is going to be before making a move. So no wonder that I didn't feel up to rigging the external antenna.
Now down to a more comfortable F4 and clear blue sky so hoping for more comfortable conditions today