‘Twas a dark and stormy night’; but this is not the start of a Victorian melodrama but the way the good ship 42 and her brave crew tackled the night of Lilybella Ullmann’s 5th birthday [which is why her Opa failed to ring and wish her Happy Birthday], April 29th. Around 32 25 North and 52 36 West we were hit by an Atlantic gale. That’s wind speeds of 40 knots, force 8, and above. In fact the highest speed on Noam’s watch reached 50 knots which is force 9. Sail was reduced to a triple reefed headsail and we ran before the storm with Michael and Noam helming alternately all night. Michael clocked an involuntary 20.6 knots on a ride down one particularly big wave but the biggest one of all broke over the bimini roof, soaking both Hans and Dalit, which must have been between 4 and 5 metres high; all very character building, just like cold showers at school. The excellent news is that nothing broke and the wind has dropped to a mild force 5-6 of 25 knots and that both Hans and Alex are improving their helming skills rapidly as we like to give Gareth a break in rough weather. The waves are also flattening off a bit, although the odd one is still coming aboard and freshening us up. Yesterday’s 24 hour run, when we were trying to slow down, was our best yet with an average speed of 10 knots, 235 in 24 hours. We have also crossed 52.5 West, which as all you nautical types will know means what?
The ever optimistic fisherman has packed away his lures for quieter times; we can however highly recommend Wahoo sashimi, Wahoo fresh from the barbecue and Wahoo ceviche. The dingy is down with the drop in temperature, the water has dropped from 25 to 17 degrees, summer sea temperature in Norway according to Hans who continues to sport shorts when Michael is wearing foulies; note to self – don’t ever swim in the sea in Norway. According to our log we have covered 1506 miles in 8 days, a shade under 200 miles/day, eaten like kings and not drunk many bottles of beer, wine and whiskey. The chief medical officer describes the enforced alcoholic abstinence as ‘interesting’, a word which fails to convey the intense longing for a wee dram as one recovers from some of life’s pleasures or vicissitudes.
We had a hour long fight with the code 0 as a failed attempt to gybe the beast turned into a bare knuckle fight to drop the half unfurled sail. Eventually the crew won, brains over brawn, but not before the furler thrashed around the foredeck like a dying giant anaconda trying for one last fatal bite. It’s now sleeping peacefully in it’s bag in the cockpit awaiting a large space in which to be untangled [it’s about 1½ x the length of the boat].
Our position on 1.5.14 @13:00 UTC
Love to all.