Day 1: “I don’t want to overstate my concern about the squalls” Chris Parker

Chris Parker, our weather guru, strongly dislikes thunderstorms, squalls and lightning.  His forecast the morning we departed Little Sale Cay started with this energetic trio for the first day or two.  We could delay our departure a couple of days to miss the squalls and face several days of motor sailing.  A delayed departure would also shorten our weather window for reaching the Chesapeake by two days.  We pressed Chris on the trade offs between the risk of the “nasty-squallies” (Parker’s term for unsettled weather) and a shorter overall time to reach the Chesapeake.  Parker restated his strong bias against lightning squalls and then concluded, “I don’t want to overstate my concern.”  Ok, we decided after weighing the risks.  As we departed the anchorage, Eulalie saw a ragged dorsal fin approach our bow.  She recognized the distinct fin from the day before.  Shark? we wondered.  A cluster of fins fell in behind Ragged Fin and criss-crossed Elizabeth Jean‘s bow.  Dolphins!!! A good omen as we left protected waters for the Atlantic Ocean.  Eleven hours later, during the 9:00 p.m. watch, lightning tattooed the sky over Florida’s coast.  Had we made a colossal mistake?  If the squall reached our position, 160 miles offshore, a lightning strike could knock out our engine and electronics and cripple us.  We watched the light show nervously for a couple of hours.  Fortunately, the squalls stayed close to shore.  As the 12:00 a.m. watch began, stars overhead winked reassuringly at Elizabeth Jean as she made her way north under 25 knots of wind.

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One thought on “Day 1: “I don’t want to overstate my concern about the squalls” Chris Parker

  1. Elena

    Always unsettling. Glad it worked out!

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