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Sat 6thOct07 Less rough by morning! More boats join evening 'Net'

Sat 6thOct07
Well, I had a rough night's sleep - constantly woken by the boat heeling right over on being hit by big waves. After the first few hours, the frequent heavy rain stopped although the seas kept rushing over the decks - no flying fish to find this morning (except for one small one trapped in a deck drain) - they'd all got washed overboard again soon after landing!! I kept just two reefs in the mains'l - the conditions weren't quite bad enough to warrant putting in a 3rd reef (max. apparent wind seemed to be ~28kn - top end of a force 6) and I wanted to keep our speed up in the big seas, but the genoa was furled in an equivalent amount. We bounced around in the swell but kept going fine on a beam/close reach in S/SSW winds.

I kept feeling grateful that I'd noticed the wind seeming to increase when I did. In fact, initially it had veered, rather than actually increase, although that made the effect on the sails the same as it increasing - I was lucky not to have left getting the spinnaker down any longer than I did! As it was, I had to get the pole down & then nearly went parasailing as I tried to get the sock down over the 'chute with the wind by then veering even more AND increasing - took some determination (and shouting!!) not to let it beat me - that would have led to disaster! As they say, "All's well that ends well"! But I was pleased to have a ready-made dinner waiting.... the stir-fry tasted even more delicious second time around, in the circumstances!!

Gradually, over the morning, the skies lightened and the sun eventually got out. I let out the genoa - the wind is still up in the low 20's but from abaft the beam now (ESE/SE) and we're still making good boatspeed - around 7 knots. The swell is gradually lessening also but is still quite big and knocking us from time to time. Come nightfall, the sky was clear overhead & full of bright stars - all constellations 'upside down' to me, of course!!

Tonight's SSB radio 'Net' on 8173kHz was really busy - around 8 boats took part, including two who could only hear what was being said (I gave what weather info I had to one who cannot get it any other way). Two more had just left Cocos Keeling today, one had just arrived there but hopes to leave in a couple of days' time, and the rest of us were already on passage, with one just arrived in Rodriguez. There were probably other boats in the anchorage listening in, as well! During the Net, we exchange positions, weather info & general chit-chat!! I expect to meet up with those boats I don't know personally as yet - either in Mauritius or in South Africa - everyone is headed that way for November/December, and most will be crossing the S.Atlantic from Cape Town some time later.

Noon 24hr run better than I'd expected with the overnight fast run... 157 n.ml. by log (152 n.ml. by GPS posn). Nearly halfway to Rodriguez.

Written by : Mike

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