FROM 1-11. South Atlantic-26°S

Apr 03, 2005 – 1100hrs UTC

1100hrs 03 Apr 2005 UTC Map Ref 144

We’ve just been through the eye of the storm – the relatively calm patch in the middle of a revolving low pressure system. I went into the cockpit around midnight local and it was black dark with just the faintest glow around the eastern horizon. 40+knots and low scudding overcast, sensed rather than visible. The eastern glow suddenly became a hazy quarter moon bright, pale, silver -its brightness darkening the surrounding clouds to black massy depth except for the moonlight reflected and filtered around the fluffy edges. Those who have been along for most of this ride will have read my earlier respect for Turner’s ability to capture the effect – no colour – black, silver, shades of grey, all reflected off the faces of some poor person in strife below. Me, in this case. And the wind abated and there were stars overhead with the Southern Cross almost hooked by the wildly gyrating masthead. lack silhouette of the storm jib against the glow ahead. About an hour of this and the low scud was back and the wind back to 40+ and the moon almost abruptly vanished.

This storm seems to have all the same numbers as the last one but – so far – it doesn’t seem so bad. The sun is out, small cumulus hooning across the sky from the west but apparently relatively clear behind, whence we were expecting much nastiness. Bright orange dayglo storm jib against blue sky and cloud. Fingers firmly crossed and clench in place – still significant apprehension -Michelle, that’s part of the complex answer still to come – how to deal with it.

Very hard to interpret grib weather files – they are predictions, at least a day old when we get them and putting ourselves into the picture they present is not all cakes and ale. I thought at first we were below this low but I now think the low is further south that the grib predicts so we’re now in the upper western quadrant waiting for the wind to back to the south and increase. If it does, we’re still looking at very big numbers – the low is squeezed eastwards and intensified by a high over S America and guess who’s in the middle of the sandwich.

Unlikely all y’all will get to read this for some time – still major problem with sailmail chile and can only contact them for a few minutes on 5mhz during the night. And desperately slow transmissions – tens of bytes per minute, rather than thousands so some anguished times waiting for grib files and your mail. Please keep it coming, even if we’re having difficult getting it.

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