Crusty's watch aboard the VO60 Spirit share their weird weather experience

Logged at 1030 on Wednesday 1 December 2004

Sarah and Chris here from Crusty’s watch – pleased to be updating you as it means we are out of the rain!

Well, the excitement has not stopped, even if the wind has. Yesterday (Tuesday) was a bit of a down day in terms of the wind speeds and direction meaning that we were all very anxious that the gains we had made the previous day would be lost.

The Dream team, comprising mainly of the hilarious Irish contingent, and Crusty’s watch were kitted up the entire time (and still are!) in full wet weather gear. None of us can quite believe the weather we are experiencing as the ARC is meant to be a warm weather crossing. However, it is amazing to see what the Atlantic can throw at you, and I think that the experience is all the better for a bit of variety!

Our day started gently approaching a squall, for the second day in a row. We had been sailing from squall to squall all night though so we were all hardened to them now as we knew what to expect – dark clouds, torrential rain and lightning. However, this squall was a bit different to the others. This squall lasted a very long time and had an interesting water feature – the wind was rotating 360 degrees creating what looked like a whirlpool in the middle of the ocean. This was a heart-stopping moment for me as I did not quite understand what was going on as the boat had to follow the wind and thus also went round 360 degrees at least three times. Again, the calm skill of our skipper and crew was much appreciated. For a while it seemed that we would never get out. During our escape manoeuvres it was noticed that the mainsail had delaminated near the top. It was decided as soon as conditions calmed slightly to drop the main and repair. This was achieved with great efficiency given the fact that it was wet and the water was exceptionally choppy. Jess the Mast monkey did a grand job in organising the boys and we were under sail again within 30 minutes fully stitched up.

For the next 12 hours it was squall after squall, torrential rain, little major progress but Thor put on a fantastic light show. Everybody worked really hard to keep the boat moving, and we were rewarded on two fronts, firstly, against expectations, we made ground on our closest rival Amer Sports, and secondly we have now got strong winds driving us nicely towards St Lucia.

Today the skipper exceeded 22 knots at the helm which felt fantastic. We are hoping that our routing strategy is going to pay off. The low pressure system looks likely to stay with us all the way – but we do not care if it rains as long as there is wind.

On the domestic front everyone is getting along swimmingly, the Irish in both watches are keeping us laughing and Lord Ives is doing his bit!

From the Happy but wet Spirit Team.