Zap . . . . Bang!
25 September 2009
As you will (should) gather from the above heading, we are sailing in some pretty severe electrical storms, with the lightning striking the water, at times, not very far away from the boat. We are all holding our thumbs (and Andries other parts of his anatomy) that we do not get a direct strike. So far, so good!
We departed Tortola on Thursday morning, just as it was getting light - a full eight hours sleep the previous night worked wonders to revive our tired bodies. My thanks to the staff of the TUI base for all their assistance with the service of the engines, repairs to some small items and the replacement of our forward bi-colour navigation light that had decided to visit Neptune, somewhere off the Brazilian coast, and did not return.
At the moment we are averaging about 7 knots but I do not think that speed can be maintained for too long as, looking at the latest GRIB files I have just downloaded, there is little wind up ahead and, at times, that light breeze is going to be right on the nose. Looks like the "iron spinnaker" will be working again later today (Friday September 25).
Yesterday I spoke to Piet, the captain of the three cabin Leopard 38, which is three days ahead of us. He reported light headwinds but still making good progress to Annapolis. David, on the Leopard 40, was two days from the entrance to Chesapeake Bay and Gavin, on the Leopard 46, is a day and a half ahead of us. We are still the tail runners but are making good progress. I calculated an ETA of October 3 when we were a few days out of Walvis Bay, Namibia, and we seem to have kept to that ETA quite well.
With our GRIB download I also downloaded the latest tropical weather discussion sheet from the NHC in Miami. There is a small development a few hundred miles west of the Cape Verde Islands which we need to monitor as it moves WNW at between 10 and 15 miles per hour. Let's hope it just stays a tropical wave and does not develop into a full blown cyclone.
The above was written during my 03:00 to 06:00 watch and it now just before noon. The thunder and lightning has stopped and we have just been through a nice wash-down squall. Although we have sufficient water for a daily shower, Hardy decided to use the squall for a good rinse down - fortunately he did not lather himself with soap as the squall was passed so quickly that he would have had to resort to the tank water to get rid of the soap.
And now it is time for me to wish you a constructive or lazy weekend. You decide. Just remember that we are out here working the boat 24/7. Regards from Andries (no longer holding that other piece of his anatomy), Hardy (just off watch) and myself, John (getting ready for our noon position report).