TNS458 08/03/2016
Forward Starboard 1800-2000 & 0400-0800

Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening indeed…… as the song
goes. Actually, it was rather exciting, very warm and wet. We left the
island and hoisted many sails and came on watch after the sun had set to
light drizzle. We had turned the clocks back an hour whilst we were at
anchor so it’s dark by time the second dog watch starts now. We left the
ship in good hands and all bunkered down for a good nights sleep,
anticipating our 3.30 wake up call. We were all conscious of the rain,
thunder and lightning but nothing prepared us for the weather on deck when
we got there.

We are sailing through the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone), the birth
place of tropical low pressure weather formations and currently, there are
over 30 swirling around here. Just like the jet stream back home, this is a
variable body of weather and although we are motor-sailing the fastest, most
direct route through the storms, we seem to have directly sailed through the
eye of one such anti-cyclonic weather system last night.

We arose to a movie like film setting of torrential rain, causing a very
flat sea with fork and sheet lightning illuminating nothing but water
everywhere – left, right, forward, backwards, up and down.

We were fortunate that no strikes hit the ship, but the red ensign seems to
have taken a bit of a battering and looks in need of repair this morning.

Of course, by time we woke the next watch, the storm had abated and they all
appeared on deck, minus waterproofs, looking very jolly and dry, we don’t
think they’ll stay like that for very long.
Odd to hand the sails back out.