The Tale of Tres Hombres and the Channel Bull
It´s safe to say that with days of glorious sunshine and light winds, the crew had been gently lulled into false sense of security; gentle days chipping rust and painting aboard, interrupted sporadically by the catching of delicious fresh mackerel much to the delight of ´Eagle Eye´ Joel. Thursday evening our idyll was briefly disrupted around midnight, at watch change, when thunder and lightening was spotted aft during a tack while hugging the French coastline around Le Havre.
The wind shifted and dropped as the thunder storm sucked the wind from our area. To our relief the clouds moved around us and the storm passed us by. The following day the wind died as our bodies fried. With glass like sea we made little progress towards our destination. After supper while observing distant cargo ships chug by, the gentle roll of thunder in the distance echoed. To aft Lucy spotted a flash of lightening in the distance and notified the Captain. A band of dark cloud was rolling in our direction. We set about closing the hatches as the temperature dropped.
As the crew were squaring away the dishes and preparing to tack the ship, the wind roared through. From a day barely making 1 knot the ship lurched up to 9 knots still while carrying our full canvas. The wind veered suddenly and backed the yards. ¨Braces the yards! Fast! roared the Captain. ¨All hands!¨ Rains whipped in and the crew leaped into action dropping the canvas as the ship with her heavy belly hurtled through the swell. Joel and Mate Remi scrambled the rigging to stow the royal and the t´gallant, as Mate Steven, directed the dropping of the main stay sails. By now the lightening was upon us.
The sky lit with the crackle of electricity as thunder bellowed. We felt like we were in a film, the colours and speed at which the elements changed left us gasping with awe! After 1.5 hours the worst had passed us and the crew breathed a huge sigh of relief at experiencing a channel bull with not a single torn stitch. As we watched the lightening head off in the distance, the orders were given to hoist the sails for full canvas, to take advantage of the westerley wind; perfect to take us through the Dover strait.
DATE: 20/07/14 GMT: 10:55 POS: 51.47 N, 002.45 E COG: 37 SOG: 1.6
GENERAL SYNOPSIS: ON BOARD THE TRES HOMBRES
WIND DIR: SW
WIND SPD: 0-1
SEA STATE: 0
SEA TEMP: 18
AIR TEMP: 18
AIR PRES: 1010