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La Cigale - Day 19 - 7 December - Squall!

I have to be careful what I write in this log. No sooner had the sunset over an unremarkable (in sailing terms) day, a squall blew up on top of us and it was all hands to the pumps. We furled the gennaker quickly and waited... I am both relieved, and mildly disappointed, that nothing more dramatic occurred than a glancing of rain and a few strong gusts. After five minutes or so we were unfurling our foresail again and I was back to the greater excitement of reading (the penultimate chapter of the) Robin Hood with the kids.

We had promised Isabelle that I would take her for a spot of star gazing at night, so afterwards, lifejackets on and lines clipped in, we curled up at the helm together and took a look around, spellbound. Memories are made of such moments. Tonight it is Francis' turn.

Overnight more squalls came and went. The ones we've encountered so far are like vampires - nocturnal creatures, unpredictable, dangerously attractive (royal blue, dappled with pink and turquoise on the radar) and vanishing with the first rays of sunlight. When I took over dawn watch we were sandwiched between two, the one from stern threatening to come straight for us, but with winds more northerly at the moment, and La Cigale on a westerly course, it seemed to change its mind and headed south instead. The most glorious sunrise followed.

We have been making steady progress, but the wind is dropping and we are counting on it picking up again. Francis wishes he were Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett's Discworld, but I wouldn't trust one of her spells not to backfire!

We are sailing pretty much parallel now with another ARC sailing vessel, Lazy Days. We are slowing down, but lucky our Skipper decided to ignore the weather advice urging us to tack North, as the wind up there has died completely. The Skipper has also excelled himself today with his speciality homemade pizza (the first of our crossing) and an almond loaf cake for pudding. Meanwhile I'm banking on a garlic-infused soup for supper tonight to keep the squalls at bay...

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