Wednesday, 29 April 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLACK LEG SIX DAY 13 QFB; received 23.4.09 0004 GMT

by Roger Nilson (navigator)

Just another squall...

A sharp voice from deck: ‘Big dark cloud approaching, Roger check it out!’

Certainly a disturbing message this peaceful afternoon with a steady easterly breeze and spotless blue skies. I turn on the radar and there it is. A big massive echo a few miles to windward. When I come up on deck a tiny, playful white bird is making a sharp contrast on the massive grey wall towering up, coming closer and closer.

Watch leader Gonza (Gonzalo Araujo) makes the standby watch alert.

‘Be ready, we might have to roll up the A3..!’

The 300 sqm carbon sail has a nice system, which works like a vertical roller curtain. At the bottom forward end it is fitted with a wheel where a rope goes around and leads all the way back to the cockpit. The line is wrapped around one of the large winch drums which can be connected to all three winch pedestals. Six pair of willing arms can spin the drum and the sail will disappear around its stay almost as fast as you roll up your bedroom curtain in the morning.

One never really knows what a squall will bring. Rain for sure, that is what we see on the radar, but how much wind..? The breeze spins up the wind instrument in the top of the mast a few extra knots, the direction of the rain cooled breeze goes left a bit. Our 15 ton planing sailing machine lifts out of the water, the speedo hits 25 knots and we fly away in a good direction without any need for rolling up the large gennaker. This was kind squall...

The wonderful fresh water cleans off the layer of salt from hair and face and we all feel refreshed.

In the middle of the squall, the rays of the late afternoon sun squeeze under the low cloud and a magnificent complete, half circle rainbow suddenly appears painted on the sunlit darkish background.

‘Not a bad day to be alive and have the privilege to be out here..’ I am thinking as the blue sky eventually washes itself clean from another disturbing rain squall. Behind every cloud there is always the open blue sky... Always good to know....

Volvo Ocean Race

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