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Maalu IV - Day 17 Weather Musings

I am not about to complain about the weather but......
I do feel that the Atlantic weather has not read the relevant manual and if it has then it is being willfully non compliant.
We started this voyage with very little wind and a lot of motoring. This was because the high pressure system which should have been centred over the Azores had taken a leave of absence and gone to the UK. (Not sure why anyone would go to the UK in December.) No problem because once the high was back over The Azores (it is called the Azores high for a reason) then surely we would be back to business as usual with 11-16 knot winds blowing the entire ARC fleet to St Lucia. Clearly the weather was embarrassed by the initial lack of wind so has now made up for it with consistently strong trade winds. Land lubbers can be forgiven for thinking that  if wind is good more wind must be better. Whilst this is true to a degree once the wind is consistently above 20 knots then the sea joins the party with ever larger swell and waves. A confused sea slows our progress. The swell has been breaking on our starboard quarter and the waves push us from the port quarter. Or is it the other way around? After 2500 miles at sea I still can't differentiate swell from waves. Suffice it to say they continue to battle for supremacy which results in a very uncomfortable ride for us.
So what should have been a balmy force 4 (11-16 knots of wind) has been a bit of a roller coaster although I have to admit that we are now making up for earlier lost time. It is a gloriously sunny day and we are enjoying the drop in wind force and the calmer seas. Squalls continue to pop up around us but have not caused us any problems today. The forecast for squalls is that they will be small and unlikely to develop into anything of concern. So where on earth did the 44 knots of wind come from last night? The radar didn't show any squall near us yet suddenly the wind veered and increased to over 44 knots for at least an hour. Maalu IV was careering along at 10 knots with very little sail to assist her. Unfortunately, although the speed was exciting, the change in wind direction was taking us to New York!
The confused seas have resulted in some large waves breaking against us. I am not sure how the smallest room in the boat received the equivalent of a bath tub full of saltwater through the open window. The guilty person who left the window open has not owned up yet, It was a pretty awesome flooding of the heads (toilet in a boat) which needed a pump to dry out. Finally there has been a upside to the weather; the large mats of Sargasso seaweed, which can be a hazard to yachts, have been broken up by the constant breaking of waves. We are sailing through the remnants which will not have any impact on our progress.
I am no meteorologist but it does seem to me that the weather is breaking a lot of rules at the moment. It will be fascinating to talk to more seasoned sailors when we get to St Lucia as they will be able to give us some perspective. I hesitate to say that what we have experienced is due to climate change but........... you may have heard it here first!


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