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Susan Ann II - log day 19 - Our first squal!

Well, our first 2 squalls actually. Which of course hit us at the same time and of course at night!

We’d been praying for more wind so we can’t really complain but I draw the line when our radar tracks a squall 3 miles from us that’s doing 60 knots. Conditions have got gradually worse today and we saw dark clouds so we reefed to reef 1 before dinner and nightfall but as soon as the guys had gone to bed, squalls started popping up on the radar. I wasn’t even sure if our radar was working properly as we haven’t seen a thing until now but a display full of yellow blobs heading our way at 60 knots says it was.

Time to wake the crew and put in reef 2. We don’t need the whole crew to reef but they’d only just gone to bed and it does make life easier. We all know our roles so it’s best to have all hands on deck. We changed course to try and avoid it as best we could, beam onto the wind means we were getting 13kts speed over ground which is fine by me if it puts distance between us and something nasty.

Our squall SOP’s (standard operating procedures) are to half furl the head sail, start both engines, head into wind and drop the main. We’ve got a 3m swell and 25kts of wind so when head to wind everything seems a lot more dramatic. Everything IS a lot more dramatic. Whilst we are doing this we are being chased down by a mean looking squall. Then our port engine shut itself off. My first thought was the preventer had gone over the side and into to prop but the guys assured me they had it on deck. Forget the engine, keep the boat head to wind as best as we can (Hayley was on the helm and as usual doing it spot on) and get that main sail as small as possible quickly. We got it reefed and when we went to bare away, immediately found our engine problem. Our Genoa sheet that we use to pull the Genoa out to the side of the boat for downwind sailing is over the side and around the prop. Bummer! This is not something we can deal with in this weather, even with 3 profession divers onboard. It will have to wait.

We are back on course now, flying along very nicely in steady 25kts so I’m hoping for a slightly earlier arrival time into St Lucia and some fairer weather to fix our issues before we get there.

Love, the Daley Adventure xx

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