Egret is underway again thanks to some local help - but the wind is up to 80 knots!

Day 93: through the storm

Position: S39 56.72 W59 24.53

Course: 226 degrees M

Distance traveled from Gibraltar 5750.02

Conditions: Seas 5′-6′ swells NE, apparent wind: 10.8 knots NW

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar on 16 September, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For the first instalment of their diary, click here

Well, mi amigos, let us revisit yesterday afternoon’s 81 knots of wind. When the front blew through we were in heavy rain and lightning. The rain had pounded the following stern quarter seas into small mounds of water from their previous 6-8′ waves. With the advancing front wind reversal, all previous seas were extinguished in a nanosecond and very low waves from the wind direction popped up. The ocean was opaque white from the horizontal spray.

There is a HUGE difference between sixty and eighty knots of wind. At forty knots of wind there was so much relief from the wind pressure we went back to close yesterday’s VofE. The following two hours the ocean was a mess with confused fairly large seas. After, the wind and waves went back to their forecast direction (NE) diminishing through the night to gentle swells this morning.

Overall it was quite an experience and a positive one. You can’t imagine how much confidence we have in our little ship to withstand about anything. We wouldn’t even SLIGHTLY consider owning one of the wannabe other brands. Egret’s only casualty was the yellow ribbon flying from the pennant staff we use for wind direction. Three large fenders were lifted from behind the Portuguese bridge and shuttled down the side deck. And that’s it. Not bad!

While in Mar Del Plata we were helped immeasurably by two Argentinian goodwill angels. The first, Justo, is a fifth year architectural student and local sailing instructor. He/we made trip after trip to the Aduana (Customs) to work out our held-for-ransom stabilizer parts in Buenos Aires. This went on for over a week with Justo calling the Aduana and stopping by Egret twice a day until we received our parts. This is in addition to his studies and sailing instructor job. What an effort from this young man. He would not take anything in return but did manage to leave with a new Egret shirt forced on him in gratitude.

The second angel, Jaune (John) Taranto, an Italian by birth but raised in Mar Del Plata, took care of the Egret crew like a brother. Juane helped us in every imaginable way from helping with parts, propane, arranging for fishing boat price for fuel (the cheapest since leaving the States) and taking us here and there for this and that. Juane owns two of the large steel fishing boats in the Mar Del Plata fleet. One is undergoing a refit and the second returned after an eight day trip with 100,000 lbs of fish aboard. We toured the boats, very different from yachts, met some of the crews, etc. Wait until you see the pictures!!!

We risked freezing and climbed through a deck hatch standing on boxes of fish and ice, taking pictures of the fish hold being unloaded by model T type tiny cranes. He drove us around like touristas taking pictures of sea lions, lighthouses and fishing boats. He delivered the three of us to his two restaurants, introduced us to the manager and told us to order what we wanted. Another night we ate in one of his sons’ restaurants with he and family members. We visited his home and met his wife and all four children. You get the picture.

We meet friendly locals everywhere Egret travels. Our little ship opens doors but NEVER have we received the warmth and friendship of Juane. It was a very sad farewell when we hugged good by on the fuel dock. Even then Juane walked the mile and a half or so back to his car so Egret wouldn’t have to enter the Yacht Club Argentino basin in high wind and low water.

But now some shocking news. We have owned Egret for five years, 132 days. It was time for a change. After this tease, let us explain to you our ‘new’ Egret. In Mar Del Plata we upgraded to Naiad Multi Sea II electronic stabilizers using our existing fins and actuator assemblies. The difference is AMAZING! We are just one day into the change but we have experienced high, tight head seas leaving MdelP, beam seas, quartering head seas and the worst sea for any boat, following quartering seas. It is as if we bought a new boat. Let me say this trying not to be too commercial: if you have gyro-triggered stabilizers seriously consider the upgrade. It is not cheap but a good value. It will change your boat as well. For new builds don’t even think of anything but electronic controls. (The seas are now building from the WNW with the wind puffing a bit more. We just cranked the two Naiad control knobs up one number… no mo roll… ho hum)

There are more Mar Del Plata stories to come. Now its time for nap chores after a busy morning watching the albatrosses. Life is good for the Egret crew. Ciao!