100R

squalls

Why do some sailors fear being becalmed at sea? Before we made the Pacific jump, some admitted carrying enough fuel to carry them across an ocean, and that in quiet times they wouldn't hesitate to use the 'iron wind'. We prefer to sit with the squalls, and to use them in passing.

Squalls last 20-30 minutes on average, just the time it takes for it to get past you, or for you to get past it. They hardly ever blow above 30 knots, you get wind out of it, and if you're reefed down properly then there's really nothing to fear. If the wind from the squall is too much for you, you can always turn your back to it and run while it goes away, or heave-to. These puffy beasts are hard to miss, it is easy to see them in the day as they move contrary to the prevailing winds, and their undersides often paired with a heavy skirt of rain. Another tell-tale sign of their approach is a change in the air temperature. The air becomes noticeably cool.

We, sailors, can soar on wind currents. We catch every bit of air we can get to stay in flight, soaring and biding our time. Squalls are just another means of propulsion on a quiet ocean, and a good time to set up a water catchment system to collect rain water.