Well the squalls and swell found us, darn it. Hard to believe I was considering making bread a day or so ago. Sunday at about 2pm the squalls started, 1 after another. Terrible feeling to see the dark clouds and know that they are coming for you. You try and out think them, "Maybe if I get behind it" or "Maybe this one won't have that much wind." We never seem to get it right though. I can't tell you how many times we have been fooled by the "calm" before the squall. Basically we start to feel silly for reefing and let out more sail only to be hit hard with to much sail up. Yucky. We are learning though. I hate seeing the white line of frothy water from wind and rain rushing at you across the ocean. Most often though it seems it is just a heavy downpour that hits when this happens and the worst of the wind has already passed.
Strangely enough though we aren't really scared of the squalls. Wind hasn't gotten higher than 30 knots and Salty is easy to reef, so that is basically what we did all day...reefed and unreefed...over and over again. The boat got a nice wash though.
Unfortunately squalls are the least of our worries. The swell is the concern...huge swell. We are worrying less about our course and just making sure we take the swell at the right angle. It knocks us around pretty good and we have had a couple very steep knock over's. Learned my lesson about holding on.
Graham reviewed the rules again and how important it is to follow them....Lifejackets and tether on upon entry to the cockpit. Pay careful attention to the lines as we reef. So much force on the sheets (lines) for the sails, so you have to be so careful nothing gets wrapped in them.
Sunday night given the combo of squalls and swell I opted for just Graham and I to do the 12 to 6am shift together in the cockpit. Amelia and I did 9pm to 12 and Graham got Alex up to sit watch with me sleeping in the cockpit from 6am to 9am. Seem to work out well. So far nothing that Salty Ginger and crew can't handle but today I did find myself asking Graham, "Is this fun for you?" He replied, "high highs and low lows." This pretty much sums it up.
Oh I forgot to mention that Graham also got the Hydrovane wind self steering gear working on Sunday. He was so happy. It works really great. He left it going through the squalls until after about 5 hours of squalls and Hydrovane I asked if we could please just focus on squalls and put the boat back on auto pilot. He agreed...thank goodness.
The kids are in good spirits and we have had lots of time to talk. Alex's sense of humor kills me and as I type Amelia is belting out, "On the Cover of the rolling stones." I am enjoying spending time with them.
The best thing at the end of a day like this though is Nanny Judith's "Classy Chicken Casserole". Amelia surprised Graham and I while we were out provisioning in the Canary Islands and made up this casserole and put it in the freezer. Graham just past Amelia and I up a bowl with hot potatoes on the side with butter, salty and pepper. YUMMY.
The sky is beautiful blue again and the sun is setting. The swell seems more manageable but I will be looking forward to seeing the sun rise again in the morning!