All hands on deck as a squall hits at the half-way point

Greetings from the middle of the Atlantic. It’s been a different day. To begin with, we saw some pilot whales – or what we believe are pilot whales. They swam close to the boat, and played like dolphins. They aren’t very big, but it was funny looking at them when they emerged and breathed. We took many pictures and also some videos.

In the evening, it was celebration time. We realized we are now half way through. So far, it has been a very slow passage with the trade winds nowhere to be found. Still we decided to celebrate this milestone, and prepared some tapas and opened a champagne bottle. It was good fun. Little did we know what awaited us later on.

At 1.00 AM, it was my watch and the wind started to increase. It has happened before but this time there were very heavy clouds as well. Eventually, it was all hands on deck and reducing sail. Wind speed increased dramatically, with gusts reaching 50 knots. We closed the gib, and left half the main opened, and we still were running at 8 knots, unfortunately south. It was raining very heavily all the time, and visibility was quite poor. Our radar was on, and showed us the size of the squall and its direction so we could try to get out faster. There were another two ARC boats in the vicinity, Aphrodite, a German boat that was moored close to us in Las Palmas and another boat. We could hardly see their lights but we coordinated courses and positions on VHF to avoid a collision. Seeing another boat in the middle of a squall is not fun.

Anyway, we are all very tired today, but it is a nice sunny day with something that resembles the trade winds. Let us hope for a quite night!