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Suddenness of a Squall

December 13, 2014

I am again in the waters that did so much damage to my boat on my first attempt.  Just this morning I had my cereal and reconstituted milk and was on my way to the galley to take back my dishes and put the water on for a cup of tea. As I left the cockpit I looked around - all clear skies, puffy cumulus on the horizon and no overcast. I quickly snapped a photo of a double rainbow and went below.  One minute later I hear it, a squall.  It comes on suddenly and the first sign is the change in wind pitch issuing from the wind generators for some of my electrical power. I leap to action just as the boat begins to heel from 20 degrees now to 30 degrees. I get to the main winch with knees bent and ready to drop to the deck should I slip and with one hand hanging on and manage to reach the winch and ease out the mainsail to bring the boat more upright and to slow a little. Had I not acted so quickly, waiting another five seconds the boat would have been over at some 40 degrees making it almost impossible to get to the winch and there would be a further delay as I would have judged it prudent to get my safety harness on. Note I do not leave the cockpit without the harness being on – that’s a rule and a promise. But even sometimes in the cockpit and when asleep I am harnessed on to a secure fitting.

So what happened to my "patented" squall detector designed on my first voyage and described in one of my blogs? That was the device, a plastic container weighted with water that sat on a material with a certain coefficient of friction sitting on my cockpit table right by where I slept or napped. When a squall hit and when a certain angle of heel was reached it the container would slide off and hit me either on the chest or throat and I would spring to action. Fine, but the sound of the wind in the wind generator blades, a elevating of the pitch will now awakes me sooner than my "patented" device - and my throat feels better.

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