FROM 2-9. Greenland-N.Atlantic-Falmouth

5340 03207 1002 miles to go

I remember the first thousand miles – off the Queensland coast somewhere. Quite a lot in between!

My take on the relentless Atlantic – constantly, uncompromisingly indifferent. ‘You’re here – deal with it!’ Apologies if I have been frightening mums and dads of ocean sailors everywhere, but if I don’t tell it as I see it, the benefit of the experience is lost. Anyway, Pete and I have been rolled in Berri twice – once south of NZ and once last year, and knocked down umpteen times. Both rolls were after constant 50 – 60 knot storms, both towards the end. Ain’t nothin like that here yet. Or forecast, I hope! I remember the NZ wave pattern vividly and it has been repeated here several times on a smaller scale – there are triple waves – one very big one followed immediately and really closely by another with the face sucked out of it by the first, so it stands vertical, concave and breaking, followed again really closely by the third which is just Big and breaking. It’s the second one that gets you and the NZ one was perfectly formed and mesmerisingly beautiful as it reared above us – sunlight shining through it, diamond flecks along the breaking crest, brilliant translucent blue-green. And, in retrospect, how relatively small it was and how easily it rolled us. And then I remember holding on to the shrouds as the boat came down the wave on top of me. Fun, but the point is that there is often a pattern to the really dangerous stuff and if you recognise it and manage to catch the first one, it’s possible sometimes to take the next two as well.

Still a bit grim here – 35 knot gusts, biggish breaking waves and the occasional mini triple toothed nasty. But only about 10 days to go, AGW and as my extra good mate Gerry FitzGerald always tells the SSSC classes we teach together, every weather system blows itself out sometime… This one will too, I hope in time to give us a nice gentle pootle through the barn door. Meantime,I have wounded hands from fighting the engine yesterday and they are going red and nasty. Betadine followed by lashings of industrial lanoline to try to keep them as dry as possible – which, of course, isn’t!

Speeds – please try to email the co-ordinates and also the phone number for the Valencia CG – I think we will be ok for power for a bit anyway.

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