Hoovering the bilges in 40 knot squalls, whales and lightning - never a dull moment on board

Andy at the helm

We’re galloping along in 30-40 knots of wind, it’s 4am and I’m hoovering the bilges, as one does. The float switch in the waste water tank has decided to give up the ghost. This is good news as when water was first heard sloshing away below the sole, we thought we were taking on water. A quick taste test( YUK ) confirmed that the briney was still outside.

Yacht ‘Flightless’ calls on the VHF,asks us if we’ve seen one of the many large squalls on the radar which appear to be making a beeline towards us. I explain that I’m not actually monitoring the radar at present, but vacuuming the bilges .

I see the squall, 8 miles off, then go back to my hoovering, empty hoover, check radar again, 4 miles off, more hoovering, even inside tank, check radar, 2 miles off, finish off hoovering, dump water down the galley sink, check radar, ” John, I think that we should reduce sail immediately..”

And so the night goes on, a procession of vicious squalls, accompanied by a constant background of lightening, which flickers outside the windows, in a spookily artifical ‘canned’ way, like being on the set of an old Hitchcock movie . It takes all the fun out of a halfway party!..

Hooray, 3 bananas have ripened ( it looks like we’ll be importing the rest to St Lucia) and Chloe has baked a cake with them for the occasion. Mmm, it’s so good that a couple of Minkie whales decide to drop in and congratulate us on our ocean milestone.Bob Marley gives us a song too, and lifts the grey clouds away. But what’s happened to the Trade Wind…?

Andy Morris “Happy Spirit” ARC yacht no. 53 Ocean 60