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Lightning Strikes!!

June 8, 2012

Sailing along the Cap d’Antibes

Well, I think it’s safe to say that this week we had a lucky escape! On Monday we left Cannes knowing the forecast there was for quite a bit of wind but that by the time we got to Antibes it would be much calmer and so we left. We flew along through the islands at 7knots with just the jib pulling us downwind and before long we were round the Cap d’Antibes and true to the forecast it was completely different! Yachts were drifting around in the sunshine and slight breeze, enjoying the views! We switched on Donkey and aimed across to Cap Ferret as we were heading into Beaulieu for the night. As we approached the Cap it became very dark and looked like a lot of rain was on it’s way so we got all our wet-weather gear on and coaxed Donkey to speed up a bit! There was a very loud bang directly above us as the thunder crashed around the clouds. The rain came next and it was pelting down, so hard that I had the tiniest slit between my hood and neck of my jacket that I could just peep through – looking at the top of the mast was out of the question!!

Beaulieu on a calm day

It was a fast moving storm and so we kept pressing towards Beaulieu, expecting the storm to cling to the cliffs like they usually do, but unluckily for us the lightning decided to fire one at us and we took a hit on the top of the mast. I heard a slight fizz as the flash popped but it took me a while to realise above the noise of the rain that the alarms on the navigation instruments were beeping. Donkey had been as faithful as ever and hadn’t missed a beat, so he was ok, but the depth, plotter and wind indicator were not impressed with the sudden charge they got and went a bit ballistic! We know the area well so we kept heading in and eventually the depth and our position came back. The rain eased and the wind that had risen very quickly fell away just as quickly, and as we approached the marina we radioed in and they said we could enter. I was fully expecting to have to anchor whilst the storm went away but they deemed it safe for us to go in.

Just Chillin’

Once in our berth, the sun came out, we dried off our waterproofs and gave the boat a good check. I managed to trace the problem in the wind indicator to the pod that has it’s electrics in and having found a guy working on another boat, he confirmed that instead of outputting 8amps, it was emitting just 0.9 which would be the reason for us having no wind reading. He ordered the parts for us and has even been up the mast to replace the little part up there which took the hit! As for the rest of the week, it’s been a mixed bag of weather but mostly sunny. On Wednesday we got the bus to Nice for just 1 Euro and looked around the shops, had huge pizzas for lunch (they did tea as well!) and had an ice cream from the best shop in Nice that even does tomato and basil flavour as well as black olive ice cream! This weekend sees us leaving for Italy as we have guests there next weekend. I’m looking forward to heading back that way and Phil is definitely looking forward to the focaccia!! Here’s hoping for good winds and no more storms!!

Happy Sailing!

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