(TheOceans.net) When Crispin Latymer embarked on a solo transatlantic sail from Las Palmas (Canary Islands) to Barbados on the 27th of November, he ran straight into tropical storm Delta: This is the worst Ive ever seen, Crispin told ExWeb over satellite phone, his voice shaking from the experience. I ripped down all the sails and just waited, he said.
Crispin later dispatched: "When it arrived, I measured 50 knots on deck! By 03.00hrs the movement of the boat made moving around below dangerous and any attempt to go on deck plain mad. I was pretty grateful when dawn arrived following the wind shift at 04.00hrs. The site outside was awesome with 25 ft waves supplemented with rogue leviathans at over 30ft and breakers were everywhere."
Calm after the storm
"I decided that, on balance, the worst was over and triple reefed both headsail and Genoa and set off southwestwards on the back of the northwesterly and which was still blowing over 30 knts. Early on we were more under water than on top really but, without question, it was fantastic sailing at up to 9.5 knts between over and down great big fast moving trains of waves."
"That memory will stay with me for a long time as I had a huge grin on my face when not being hit in it by foaming water pouring down the deck. Incidentally, it may have been called a TROPICAL storm but the water certainly wasn't, dispatched Crispin."
After that - things calmed down - literally. All wind died down and Crispin had two sub-100 mile days and two consecutive nights of little sleep with sail work looking for wind.
Fathom sailed herself majestically all night
But today, Crispin is back on track, dispatching: "After yesterday morning's very light winds we finally got some decent northeasterlies around lunchtime and which have carried pretty much through the night."
"As dusk fell we were surfing again at over 8 knots under full sail and I contemplated staying up through much of the night to capitalize. However, after the last two nights of zephyr chasing I was just too tired so shortened sail and got my head down for the best 7hrs night's sleep of the trip. Fathom sailed herself majestically all night dropping below 5 knots only just before dawn."
Another tropical storm is developing
"One of the reasons for wanting to 'bank' some sleep hours is the forecast. Another tropical storm is developing to my north and is expected to move southwards over the next two days. By Thursday it is expected to have reached 23' latitude, only some 300 miles to my north."
"So long as it comes no further south, all I should pick up is 24 hours of headwinds and some level of storm surge. Whilst both are boring, uncomfortable and slowing to progress, neither should be anywhere near the same level as Delta last week. However, not only does it seem prudent to grab sleep when offered but yesterday I also tacked onto a more southerly course to get more distance between myself and 23'N. I will be speaking with the weather guys in London daily for the next three days and will advise on any expected changes."
"For the moment the weather has yet again become light winds with some quite large looking squalls coming up astern - full wet weather kit in the cockpit just in case and not back to full sail in the event of severe gusts. Trade winds - don't make me laugh."
Check Crispin's website (links section to your left) for more details.
The 50-year old former investment banker had dreamed of this sail since his rowing days at Oxford. However, it would be another 28 years before it became a reality: like many adolescent plans the siren call of city life smothered my intentions, writes Crispin on his website.
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