From The Deck Of Prospector 11 July 2015 1030Z

From The Deck Of Prospector 11 July 2015 1030Z

A Wild Night and A Wet Day

Shortly after last night’s post, our circumstances began to change very

rapidly.  We thought we were settling down to a quiet night, our third

in a row without chaos, with a conservative sail plan and a breeze

dropping from 25 knots to 20 and rising back to 25 knots from the

Southwest.  That wasn’t what we got.

After initially showing signs of easing the wind began to howl, building

quickly into a range of 28-32 knots.  Our initial reaction to this was

delight.  These were Prospector sailing conditions, which would

hopefully help us gain on our competitors.  With a full main a the Jib

Top and Genoa Staysail at 12-14 knots boat speed we were happy as

clams at high tide, as Paul likes to say.  We went about our onboard

routines, looking forward to gaining on our rivals in advance of putting

up the A5 in what we thought would be a moderating breeze at first

light this morning.

These plans too were very short lived.  The squalls arrived.  These

squalls appeared suddenly, out of nowhere, with no radar footprint. 

Four of them caught us.  In the first squall the wind went from 25-28 to

47 knots in a second just after midnight.  Paul fought the helm as it

knocked us on our beam.  The crew quickly sprang to life, and reefed

the main, as the squall disappeared as quickly as it came.   We all were

a bit shaken by the sudden menace of the thing, but quickly regrouped

thinking the reef would keep us out of future trouble.  The second

squall hit at about 0130z.  After we recovered from the knockdown we

put in a second reef and sailed on.  The third squall caught us at 0430z,

forcing us in to a third reef.  The fourth and last squall this morning hit

us 30 minutes later at 0500Z.  This time with a 44 knot gust.  All out of

reefs, we struck the Jib Top, which had lost all of its battens and the

General, our new name for the Genoa Staysail, which is likely done for

the TR2015.  We put up the J4, kept the reefs in and sped on.

This morning was anything but glorious.  The exact opposite  of  the

great weather we have enjoyed during daylight hours for the last three

days.  Until a short while ago it was grey, very windy and dumping rain. 

We are going fast and throwing spray everywhere.  Getting ready  to go

on deck feels like getting ready to go for a walk on the moon with all

the gear that you need to put on to stay dry.  Presently, it is just grey

and windy. 

Reading this you might think the crew was miserable in these nasty

conditions.  You would be wrong.  They are there usual zany selves. 

Tremendously upbeat, joking, telling stories, making fun of each other

and laughing constantly.  They are simply out of this world. 

One reason for their good spirits is the performance of the mighty

Prospector.  She loves her current sail plan and is shaking all this

nastiness off without a care.  We are going very fast and gaining on our

competition.

We can’t imagine being anywhere else in the world today than out here

in the North Atlantic, with each other,  less than 400 nautical miles to

go now, hauling the US Mail.