Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 8 - Squally Skies and Stormy Seas

Okay, enough of the rough stuff, we want blue skies, please! Last night was the worst one so far as Ladybug was pursued by relentless squalls. The regular wind of 20 Knots WNW would spontaneously rise to 35-40 Knots and dense fat rain drops drummed harshly on the deck. Poor Hoochie Mama could not keep Ladybug from turning into the pounding waves, so with a bone jarring shock, we would be catapulted into action. Chris stripped to his undies, climbed over the main hatch, turned us a little downwind, rolled in some jib and hopped back into the cabin. I monitored and yelled out our course and direction from the GPS and stood by to mop Chris's salty feet with a freshwater soaked cloth as he stepped inside.

When the first squall arrived I switched on the radar and only saw a mile or two of rain ahead. Then almost the entire 6nm scan went white - there was no escape! That was only the beginning as later on we sailed through six hours of tightly packed squalls over 6 hours! With only a few feet of jib unrolled and the triple-reefed main we ran off before quartering seas for comfort and stability, thus preventing damage to little Ladybug. The bigger boats ahead of us reported being almost out of the squall zone this morning, so we are optimistic that it will be over for us by late tonight. The only patch of blue skies we saw briefly today was behind us :(

One good thing about this passage is that there is lots of time for reading in between the sail adjustments, if you have the stomach it. I just finished a 930 page book that my niece Sabi recommended, "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts. The author is a self-proclaimed revolutionary, past drug addict, criminal, philosopher, poet and writer. It is a work of fiction but his vivid details of life in the slums of Bombay, the activities of the Bombay mafia and the wonderful Indian characters and eclectic ex-pats cannot all be imagined. The novel was written over thirteen years while the author was incarcerated and tortured. It is philosophical and gritty at the same time - a must read!

Our position at 3pm today was 24 17S 177 58E. We sailed 131nm over 24 hours, with 110nm in the right direction.

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