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Cloud Jumper - Last day update

Just a quick update from a very brown and skinny crew on Cloud Jumper, we have had a pretty eventful few days, the squalls started to pass over us from windward so we have to keep checking from behind and see what is heading our way,luckily we have managed to spot them before they get to us to give us time to reduce sail. The first one arrived a huge black cloud looming over us and within 10 mins the wind doubled In strength to 35 knots and we had a really heavy downpour with it. The rain was very welcome but no time to get the soap out! Haha We had a few nights with little sleep until we got used to the squalls and also how to interpret them on the radar. The Radar is excellent and full credit to Chris and Kerry (Cloud Jumper's previous owners) for kitting her out with all the gizmos to help make this passage  so safe. Karen the watermaker has been excellent and we have not had to use any of the 250 litres of Tescos finest for the whole trip. She's a bit temperamental but she has a soft spot for Neil so generally keeps us well hydrated.
Had a bit of a scare the other morning, Neil found that the rudder had seized during his watch (3am) and we suddenly lost all steerage. My heart sank as we had had such a fantastic trip up until then, we quickly got the Hydrovane working which acted as an emergency rudder to give us time so find out what the problem was and come up with a plan, we could only guess that a shim on the rudder post had somehow come away preventing the rudder from moving,it was a bit disheartening to think we would have to get Cloud Jumper lifted out of the water in The Caribbean and start taking the rudder apart. We opened a bottle of wine to take the edge off the whole episode and to try to clear our minds for some creative solutions! Anyway as luck has it, Mathais was on watch next and as the sun came up he noticed one of the spinnaker ropes trailing behind the boat!! This was the best news as in seemed that the rope had come lose and one end had fallen into the water and wrapped itself around the rudder, suddenly life was on the up again!  Mathais was very keen to volunteer to get a wetsuit on, mask and flippers and dive under the boat to try to free the jammed rope. We firstly took down all the sails but Cloud Jumper still was moving at 4knots in the wind and following swell so we put a harness on Mathias and another rope for good measure before he jumped in to try to fix the issue (we also streamed a line with a large bouy as an extra safety  measure) after 5 mins in the water a 2 or 4 dives he managed to free the rope and the rudder works like a dream! Well done Mathias!! The rope was wedged firmly where the rudder rotates on its post where it is bolted to the Hull. We are constantly learning lessons from all the little things that an go wrong, we have discovered that we are a great team at creating little problems but even better at dealing with them.
The rudder morning was a weird one as Neil and I also witnessed a meteorite streak across the southern sky, It was really cool and left a long tail for a few seconds - amazing. Also just as we were coming up with a plan for the rudder issue 2 whales joined Cloud Jumper for about 10 minutes, they were about 5m long and they played in our bow wave and one of the jumped out of the water! I am not sure what species they were they moved like giant dolphins but had a comparitilvy smaller dorsel fin, it was a pretty magical moment In between the despair of dealing with the rudder issues.
The flying fish landing on deck have gotten a bit bigger so I pan fried one for breakfast the other morning - bleddy 'ansome!!!
It's 7:45 am local time and we are just passing North of Barbados on what should be our final day of this crossing. The sun is shining and Neil has Guns n Roses playing in the cockpit - its going to be a beautiful day! We hope to be rounding Pigeon Island and crossing the finish line just outside Rodney Bay Marina around sunset.
Have a great weekend all  and thanks again for all your support and messages .

Lots of love
Pete, Neil, Jowan and Mathias. Xxxx

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