Thursday, February 5, 2015

off the screen

After my last post, we entered a stormy area, with very heavy rainfall. JP took advantage of that by going on deck close to the mast to take a shower. This when we started seeing lightning and hearing thunder. At first they were 5 seconds apart then 4 then 3 then 2 at which point JP came back down in the boat. While he was kooking up through the hatch he saw the ball of lightning hit the top of the mast. All lioghts went out and smoke started to come out of the voltage regulator of the wind vane. The computer went out and we realized that we had lost everything electronic (instruments, computer, satphone, tracker, etc...) Fotunately, the hand held Garmin 76 was still alive as well as the notebook. We were able to set up a chart plotter on the note book and to continue navigating towards Le Marin in Martinique wherre we arrived on december 9th, some 25 days of a very slow crossing (I took 18 days in 1996 with my First 38 Beneteau). All the time. we were very much aware of the fact that we probably had disappeared from the screen and that family and friends were probably worrying about us. We were lucky enough to establishVHF contact with a passing sailboat, participating in the ARC Rallye and ask them to inform our organizing committee that we had been hit by lightning and had lost all electronics including means of communicatio. Once in Martinique time was shared between getting the boat able to sail again and various evening parties with the Atlantic Odyssey participants. We left Le Marin on the 14th after filling up the fuel tank at french prices (ouch !) with no instruments and limited navigation aids. For the trip, Marianne had joined us, so we were going to San Juan directly.