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Easy Rider - 28/11 Day 9 - Things that go bump in the night

Since we are very close to the tropics we get pretty much 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. What happens in the long hours of darkness? Well it's 95% routine and 5% of sweat when the squalls hit.

Firstly our shift pattern changes such that Captain Dave, Cabin Boy Max and Midshipman Neil do 3 hour shifts, 9.30-12.30, 12.30-3.30 and 3.30-6.30 respectively, Soy does a split shift at the start and end of the night. This works pretty well as a fixed routine.

However what has not been so evenly distributed has been the arrival of squalls, these take on a more threatening feel at night, it's pitch black and suddenly the wind speed doubles and waves are fiercer and the person on the helm is hanging on to keep the boat in a straight line preferably as downwind as possible to keep the wind speed over the boat manageable but not so far downwind as to cause the sails to gybe (wind gets on wrong side of sail and pushes the sail and boom over unintentionally with a resounding crash). The last three nights have seen some serious squall activity at night but as luck would have it, from Max and my point of view they have always fallen on Dave's shifts. So he has been on some white knuckle rides while the rest of us cower in our cabins saying our prayers, the wind has gone from 10mph to 30mph in less than a minute and at that stage all you can do is hang on for the ride. Typically we try and get ready for squalls, reef the sails, put on lifejackets, think about our strategy but of course it's the ones that you can't see that bite you. Still, thanks to Dave's vested interest in keeping his boat afloat and his excellent helming skills we have survived the ones that sneak up on us and are getting better at handling these scary night time monsters.

Other than that all's well, the end feels to be in sight for mid next week and we head into the weekend in good spirits, until Dave get's to hear about the West Ham score!

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