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10th Nov07 Struggling to get around Madagascar

Sat 10th Nov

Spent a lot of time on deck today, gazing at the big seas and absorbing the scene.... A lot of sail-trimming & course adjustment needed also.

I was able to cut the motor around 1am and have sailed ever since all day - in increasingly strong winds and big seas under overcast skies and some rain - found the front Fred was talking about!! Lightning is flickering ahead now (10pm) in the darkness. We're trying to round the S end of Madagascar against a VERY strong SE current - proving very difficult despite 6-7 knots of boatspeed! Quite a bumpy ride all day... and very frustrating to be making 7 knots through the water, but only 2-3 knots over the ground, not even making our course but being taken further south.... At one time, I was needing to head 285, trying to make 230!! I decided to cut my losses and head more off the wind, and hence also the current, to increase speed over the ground - that seems to have worked even though it's not quite in the direction I would have liked - but it's near enough for now... Let's see what the wind does overnight and tomorrow - forecast is for it to back completely around by tomorrow evening. "Stenella" have been hit by 40 knot winds (a SW 'buster'), as expected - I could well get something similar by the time I reach where they are, not too far off the coast.

I spent most of the afternoon taking my computer to bits and giving the fans & surrounding area a thorough cleaning - all very dusty. The good news is that when I finished, the computer still worked & I had no screws over & none missing!!! I suspect one of the two fans isn't working - seemed way too new-looking and dustless...

I'm expecting a disturbed night - with the wind expected to back steadily, sails will need trimming/checking and we may have to tack around at some point. I'm running the radar on 'guardwatch' and 'waking' it up every 10 minutes to check for shipping.

Time to get some sleep while all is calm....

Distance to go at noon today: 877 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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