Squalls

Satellite images often show that clouds usually emerge  over the mainland and Peloponnese. Right on the border between land and sea the clouds dissolve. And so it is often: sunny above the Aegean Sea, while it is sweltering hot and cloudy on the Peloponnese. An associated thunder storm can develop quite aggressively in the evening and impressive sheet lightning at sea can be seen from afar. Sometimes the weather gods do not comply with this limit and a certain sail region is treated to a ‘squall’ (short storm, accompanied by heavy rainfall). Frightening, but it seldom lasts for long. In an upcoming squall, it is important to scour the area on the position of other yachts in advance. Visibility may be reduced by heavy rainfall to less than 100 meters and the resulting wind requires that all stuff on deck (personal belongings, dinghy, gangway, etc.) is properly fastened. A folded spray hood and bimini catch less wind and improves the view around. Sails need to be furled rapidly, deck hatches and port holes closed. He, who waits quietly, preferably with the bow in the wind and supported by the engine to keep control over the yacht, usually can smile for the camera after an hour in the returning sunshine. The deck will already be dry.

A squall never comes as a thunderclap out of the blue. You can see and hear it clearly arriving. The clear air quickly becomes overcast and hazy. Clouds go against the prevailing wind direction and are accompanied by audible rumble as if one is working in a quarry with dynamite (approaching thunderstorm). Normally squalls are too short to cause heavy seas. Approaching a port for shelter in a squall is asking for trouble, yachts better stay at sea. The VHF is in such a situation usually overloaded by flotilla leaders who try to keep their flock together. Conclusion: stay calm and have patience.