That first night in the Drake Passage was a shocker! The forecast was for lightish southwesterly winds and so I expected to come on watch at midnight for some boring old motoring. Instead, I discovered that the barometer had plummeted from 981 to 966 since 19:00, and the wind was a steady 30 knots. The third reef was already in, but with our first gust into the mid 30s we furled away most of the yankee. The pressure was still dropping, and it took only minutes before the gusts were hitting mid 40s and then 50s so all the yankee was quickly furled away and, since the wind was behind us, I didn’t see the point in pulling out a smaller headsail — we were doing 10 knots, in pitch darkness in a rapidly increasing wind and sea state, still in the vicinity of icebergs and I figured that was probably enough! The snow was horizontal and it was bitterly cold but I was so worried that we hadn’t put in the fourth reef (if we would even have been able to in those conditions) as the wind continued to rise that I stayed on deck watching the sail with a flashlight and hoping that nothing would give way. As the sea state rose, we began to corkscrew around on the waves and more than once I heard great crashes from below. I was relieved that it was only tools from the workshop breaking loose, and the biscuit box in the saloon making a bid for freedom and not any of the crew being flung from their bunks. Later on, while I was clearing up, another big swell hit us from the side pushing us over almost 60 degrees. At this point the galley bin opened and empty tins, plastic wrappings and some wine bottles (left over from the night before) started firing out hitting the wall opposite. It was pretty comical and I admit that I actually giggled, before swearing as two mugs, left on the galley work surface behind some bungy leaped off and smashed on the leeward side of the saloon. I have to say, I was quite relieved when Dave’s watch came on at 03:00 and I had a chance to tidy up some of the carnage and hand over responsibility for sailing the boat to another watch. By the time I went to bed, the pressure was back up to 970 and rising fast. In the morning, when it had all calmed down again, I saw from the log book that it had risen 14 millibars in three hours. In the UK where I usually sail, you wouldn’t go out to sea at all if the pressure dropped or rose by six in three hours, but down here, you can expect anything! The net pressure change overnight was plus three mb, but with a total change of 36!