15 December A squally day

We are now in ARC weather forecast area Romeo. If you thought Romeo was lovely, a star crossed lover, cruelly misled, think again. Yesterday’s forecast was possibly the most threatening we had received. Squalls all day, winds of 20 – 25 knots gusting 27, swell 4 metres, waves 1.5 to 2 metres from a different direction; it was time to be a little more cautious. When John came on deck at 0800 we decided it was time to reef the mainsail which, unfortunately, means one of us has to go to the mast while the other helms. I’m not keen on helming in relatively calm conditions, we did not have relatively calm conditions! It took about 30 minutes to sort out what we were doing, in which order and to execute the plan. I pulled two reefs in, making the sail significantly smaller, we reset it and off we went again at amazing speeds. The first significant squall of the day, and also of the crossing, blew in at about 0930 local. The rain was heavy, the wind peaked at 37 knots and John had to helm as the autopilot couldn’t cope. It could have been a lot worse, the radar showed two lines of squalls which magically passed either side of us; we just caught the conditions at the edges. We are attaining some amazing distances, noon to noon. Friday to Saturday we covered 182 miles our joint best distance. According to the forecast there is very little current but surfing down the huge swells help immensely. We have decided it is now safe to declare that we shall arrive Sunday, late afternoon or evening. To celebrate this fact we had steaks, potatoes and ratatouille for dinner. My final passage blog, probably tomorrow morning, will let you into the secrets we have been keeping, once we have arrived safe and sound. I’ll also do a resume of what worked and what didn’t, especially in terms of provisioning. Joyce

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