Squall watch

Immediately following our briefing about squalls in the tropics, especially the ferocious ones as we pass through the doldrums, I glance over my left shoulder as I’m busy trimming the spinnaker to the sight of a rather ominous looking cloud formation.

No doubting it’s a squall. However I draw the attention of our watch leader and skipper with a casual, “Hey guys, what do you think…?”

The reply is a very urgent, no nonsense, ‘Drop the spinnaker, reef the main’. Our watch swings into action to keep us and our boat safe. A squall that approaches unnoticed can shred your spinnaker – not something any of us fancy.

After the intense focused action we all hope that the squall does in fact reach us so that we can reach for the shampoo and have a long dreamed for fresh water wash.  Baby wipes are all well and good and certainly keep you clean and odour free but the desire for a ‘proper’ wash is high.

Sadly no rain, a slight increase in wind but nothing as exciting as we had hoped for. And no hair washing opportunity.

We are however complemented on our team work and rising to the challenge. Certainly beats the dressing down we received during last night’s watch.

And so adding to chafe watch and deck checks we now have squall watch. Which by the way we can actually track on radar. A godsend during the night when there’s no moon and just thick, inky black sky.

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