highs of yesterday today has been an altogether different and testing
experience. It’s now 2123 and the children have finally settled and Nichola
and I are very tired having been constantly on the go all day working the
boat and with the children. We’re now getting into our night watches of 3
hours on and 3 hours off – I’m on until midnight – then Nichola from
midnight to 3am, I’m on from 3am to 6am, then Willow will most likely be up
and Nichola on the 6am watch will try to keep her away from me so I can grab
a couple of hours sleep to get me close to 5 hours for the night.Todays events. In the 4am log I noted that the winds had become very light
and shift. Flogging sails never does your nerves any good as its excess wear
and tear on the boat and that usually leads to a reasonable sized bill to
get things fixed. By 7am one of the children (to remain nameless) started a
tantrum that was to go on for the next 6 hours. At 9am, we poled out the
genoa and hoisted the staysail and were making around 5 knots heading in
vaguely the right direction. Then the squalls kicked in and for the next 5
hours we had torrential rain, high winds, rough and confused seas which
seemed to come from nowhere. The sails flogged, the boat span around, the
mainsail needed continual attention as though we were in a racing dinghy.
The tantrums were in still in full flow downstairs and at the same time
trying to get the literacy, maths and reading under way for the day.
We dropped sails, we hoisted sails. We got soaked to the skin and unusually
with the weather it was cold. By late afternoon it looked like the wind was
settling in the South East. We gybed the spinnaker pole and all the gear –
an operation that takes some half an hour and means a lot of work on the
foredeck. Sails up we got settled and tried to switch the engine off. It
wouldn’t stop. The stop button wasn’t working. We got the manuals out and
started to try and diagnose and fix the problem. Meanwhile children 2 and 3
decide to have tantrums as well as clearly Aretha getting more attention
than they were.
Then the next squall kicked in. Wind. Rain. Aarrgh. The wind shifted and now
we were heading South East and back done to Brazil. Right, drop the sails
and change direction again while we motor out of the squall. Baked beans and
super noodles a hasty fuel stop for supper. Some 30 minutes later the wind
now on the starboard side and we need to pole out the spinnaker on the other
side of the boat. Its dark and we don’t fancy gybing in the dark with the
bouncy wet conditions. All 3 children now having tantrums. I’m questioning
how on earth did we manage to virtually circumnavigate with 3 children. It’s
hard to describe just how great it can be spending 247 365 with your kids
and equally hard to convey just how challenging it can be whilst keeping a
complicated yacht running and navigate the worlds oceans.
We need to gybe and the engine problem is still unresolved and the engine
running. We need rest though and will motor through the night under mainsail
alone. In the morning we’ll gybe and hopefully get some advice on stopping
the engine. As I write, the wind now up to 17 knots and the main is crashing
The Ying and Yang indeed of sailing. Some days you just want to write off
and wake up the next day. Fingers crossed tomorrow brings better spirits on
board and we can solve the engine mystery and get the sails set properly.
The prospect of arriving in Grenada is enticing. 200 miles to go.
From a tired Team Aretha, Out.
It’s 0237. I’ve been sitting up on deck - the sky is incredibly clear and cloudless with a sliver of moon. The stars are so bright they come all the ... Read more
A day of contrasts. Today has been totally different to yesterday. Calm seas, glorious sunshine, happy children. We’ve been fishing and caught a small Jack and a 20 lb Dorado ... Read more