Antigua to Portsmouth Day 8: ‘To Avoid Doom, Steer Away From the Boom’

515 views  |   January 18th, 2019 

Thursday 17 January 2019



As the weather builds for the first time on this crossing, the crew have to work together to keep Challenger 4 on course and each other well fed. The next 2 days of weather will be challenging for them, but there are signs that they are up to the task. Luckily, they’ve had over a week to ‘bed-in’ and learn to work as a team.


Don’t Forget to Avoid Doom

Today started (or was it yesterday ended, I’m not sure) with a cold slap of seawater to my face.  The small hatch opposite my bunk (which is the middle one of three) was partially open and, with the heel of the yacht, pointing skywards.  That was all the gap that stray wave needed to find its way to me and announce that we were shortly to experience our first serious ‘weather’.  With the sea state now being recorded in the hourly log as ‘moderate’ (I’m somewhat concerned what ‘rough’ looks like) we’ve been thumping along on a broad reach all night and day with speeds regularly exceeding 12 knots, and up to 13.7 (well done Ben).  Helming at night has been challenging!  30 knot gusts and big swells push the yacht up into the wind, the yacht heels and accelerates and the big bare away results in surfing down the wave and then hardening up to avoid ‘crash gybe territory’.  Sue’s words provide a useful reminder ‘to avoid doom, steer away from the boom’.



Dolphins on the Bow

Damage report: the saloon table has left the floor, and is now secured with lines.  There are a few wet cushions due to hatches being left open too long. Mike awoke rather abruptly with a storage box landing on his face.  He doesn’t look any worse for wear and on the positive side is as good looking as ever.  The Yankee 1 sail briefly launched itself into the sea during a sail change but, following a massive crew effort to tame the dragon, is now secured safely to the deck.  No seasickness to report!  And to make everyone feel better, the sun came out this afternoon and four dolphins joined us to play off the bow.



The Best Mother Watch Crew on the High Seas!

The mother watch for this finely honed team has had the usual ups, downs and lurches. But we are getting used to that now and wondering why it’s always us that get the bouncy watches – probably because we are the best!  We served chicken and bacon soup and onion bagels for lunch and bangers and mash, peas, onions, peppers and gravy for supper.  Just to put that in perspective, the galley has standing room for two, the worktop is tiny, and the stove swings on its gimbals with the waves, at angles up to 30 degrees.  Getting the meals ready, hot and in the bowls, where they should be, is a logistical wonder.

We’re losing track of what day it is, but that doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore.  It’s just one watch to the next, distance run and miles to go.  The only break in the pattern is the mother watch every fourth day, which provides, after a day’s hard labour, the opportunity for a full night’s sleep.  And that’s where we are headed now!







Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean



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More blogs about this Atlantic Adventure can be read here: Portsmouth to Gran Canaria

Posted by: First Class Sailing


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