Remember Buncefield - the fuel depot that went up in a massive explosion near London? Well guess where the fall-out landed?
Adele was two days out of the Canaries back in December 2005 en route to the Caribbean. Irritatingly they were having to deal with a north easterly which was drawing weather and rain in from the north Atlantic and the UK.
After a particularly heavy downpour mate Mark Thirkettle noticed that Adele was covered in a black film. The entire rig was coated, as were the sails, with a black oily deposit. “You could run your finger over the spars and a clean line would appear in the blackness,” said Mark. They were up and down the rig with fresh water and cleaning fluid to shift the stuff but it took until they got to Auckland to get the muck off the sails. They had to be industrially cleaned but you can still see some of the streaks.
In Gibraltar, before they left for the Canaries, they had seen the news of the explosion in the UK and can only deduce that with the wind and weather direction at the time the deposit had been lifted into the upper atmosphere, transferred on the weather system and deposited on them in almost mid-Atlantic!