Captain Ron Lied
22 November 2015
“Squalls… they come on you fast and leave you fast”. Well, in my experience this has been mostly true, however, a few nights ago, about 500 miles north of the BVI, a line of squalls was bearing down on Blue Summit from our port quarter. As they slowly approached, they seemed to become darker and we could start to see lightning in certain areas. Equipped with our new weather radar, we were more or less able to track the strongest cells and decided to turn into the squall line to penetrate them at a point of least activity. Initially, this seemed to work, but as we continued, we could see that areas that initially looked ok on radar were quickly changing to strong cells and we were gradually becoming surrounded by the lightning. At this point our new radar gave us a warning “scanner not rotating” and immediately shut itself down. Wonderful! We continued to try to avoid the worst of the lightning, but after 4 hours of sailing away from our destination, we finally decided to get on with our trip south and the squalls started to dissipate about an hour after that. I still struggle with how much effort should go into steering away from these cells since a lightning strike will ruin your day, but sometimes the more one tries to avoid the danger, the more Mother Nature says ‘not so fast’.