14degrees off the beaten track
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September 12th, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,The Atlantic

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Distance sailed today:103 NM
Total distance sailed: 2263 NM
Midnight GPS position: N 20.11 W055.39
Wind: NE Wind Force 1-3
Sea state: Slight
Generator hours: 9.9hr
Such was the laziness of the daylight hours today, that I didn’t take even one photograph today. It was another hot day, but we did have some wind, so that helped keep the oppressiveness of the heat down.

It was the early evening that produced the most excitement, whether welcome or not. At around 5:30pm, we saw the tell tale signs of a squall approaching. The horizon came nearer and nearer, until we could see the mist of heavy rain approaching like a sheet cutting through the air. The wind increased almost instantly from a pleasant 14 knots to 30 knots.

Steve was well on top of the situation however, and before the squal even got to us we already had the genoa sail away, and were in the process of getting the main sail down. It was half way through getting the main sail down when the rain hit hard and fast. It was so warm that none of us on board even thought about putting rain jackets on. The fresh rain was welcome, Steve grabbing a bottle of shampoo and lathering up there on the deck of the boat, thrusting the bottle towards me and encouraging me to do the same.

“Make the most of it while you can!” he called out over the noise of the heavy rain drops hitting the deck.

By now the wind had died down, but the rain still fell, flattening the sea dramatically, the entire surface of the ocean prickling with heavy rain drops. I lathered up, the rain only just lasting long enough to rinse the shampoo out of my hair. Then it was over as quickly as it had started. Our first squal of the trip.

Shortly after, however, we received the following weather fax.


It indicates a tropical cyclone with sutained winds of 60 knots situated 600 miles due east south east of us (indicated by red line). The 120 hour forecast indicates that it will be in out present position by then. We do hope however that by then we will safely in Tortola. If not, then we will have to head north to avoid getting caught up in it. We have 500 miles to go until Tortola, so we hope to be there in five days time at the very most. We have approximately three days worth of diesel left, so we still have to do at least two days worth of pure sailing in order to be in the clear. It looks as though it will come down to the wire…


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