If Monday evening and night squalls and electrical storms were to be judged against what we had last night, It would be like comparing a pub band practicing upstairs to a virtuoso stadium filling rock concert.
Another mixed morning with not great winds. This followed by a major squall early afternoon. As evening fell, the show began. We were all in the cockpit enjoying a celebratory 'half way there' drink when the light show began. Neither Sydney, London or Funchal could have put on a display like this. There was sheet lightning in whites and pinks, big claps of thunder and then forked lightning running across the sky with small bolts in the distance striking the sea. We tried to follow a path away from the activity and thought that we had succeeded. Early on Ann's night watch the fun and games began. Sheet lightning from immediately above us, and a change of wind direction. I got up, donned full foul weather gear and we did the watch together. The wind picked up, but more dramatic was the rain. It was the heaviest that we have ever seen. It flattened the seas around us which were then illuminated by the sheet lightning silouetting the cockpit, which was illuminated by the red of both of our head torches, a real devil's kitchen. It rained and rained and rained, The course was such that we were not putting too much strain on the un-reefed mainsail. It almost felt that we were hove too but we were not. We were sailing at 8.6 knots. It would have been virtually impossible to have gone to the mast to do anything. We sat tight whist the auto pilot held a course that I don't think a human could have done. Eventually the rain lessened and the thunder storm abated and we both breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Just got to remember to take the satellite phone and Portable VHF out of the oven now, before we cook anything. Don't know if it would have worked, but it was our own version of Farraday's cage.
Jim Ann & Jack
on Summerwinds of Cuan