Friday, February 26, 2010

Reached Cape Town

Mhadei reached safely at Cape Town at about 1030 local time on 25 Feb 10 to a fine welcome organized by the South African Navy and the Cape Townians! Got introduced to the interesting night life of the City on the first night itself when I visited Mhadei to check on her and found her to be the center of attraction of a rather loud group of admirers. Too bad I can't post the noises but as you will be able to appreciate from the pictures she is in good company getting ready for the next leg to Mumbai!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Back to the Eastern Hemisphere

We crossed the Prime meridian at about 2253 tonight and are back in the Eastern Hemisphere after a little over two months. Another great day of sailing! Not very fast but absolutely peaceful with a flat sea, gentle breeze and clear sky. Little wonder that the cook finally got inspired and whipped up a delicious Rissoto con gamberi e funghi. A nice lunch under the blue sky without wearing any woolens, washed down with a bottle of "Monsoon" beer from New Zealand followed by the mandatory siesta. Can life get any better! Tomorrow will be the last of the peaceful days after which the weatherman has fixed up a date with the Cape Town Doctor which would mean strong head winds and seas all the way to Cape Town!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Out of the Roaring Forties

After experiencing a last big roar of almost 36 hrs of Gale force winds we finally seem to be out of the clutches of the Roaring Forties. The roar did push us a little more to the North than expected though not enough to get into a High pressure system and risk getting becalmed. Sailing at the edge of the system and getting good Westerly winds since morning. With a moderate following sea Mhadei is cruising along under clear sunny skies! The forecast looks good for the next couple of days after which the wind is expected to turn SE which would mean head winds and slamming into the swell till Cape Town. Well, we will see when we reach there! Presently enjoying the sail with the weather getting warmer by the day. No more woolens or boots required during the day and the morning cup of coffee can be had sitting out on the deck rather than standing as close to the gas as possible!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A year and 23000 Miles

Mhadei completed one year of service with the Navy on 12 Feb 10 completing almost 23000 Nm in her brief lifetime. Not too bad for a Yacht that is the first of her kind in the country. Had she been a Naval ship the crew would have been celebrating her anniversary, maybe cutting a cake etc. We celebrated doing some smooth and fast sailing eating up over 170 Nm in a day! Its been good sailing the past few days. Not always very smooth, with the winds regularly touching 30 kts, but fairly fast with sunny days and starry nights that you can sit out and enjoy as it is not that cold anymore. The swell is lesser than what we had been experiencing in the Pacific and that really helps. The forecast for the next few days is predicting winds over 20 kts with the inevitable gales thrown in. We are already at the edge of the "Roaring Forties" and getting pushed North with a strong South Westerly wind. Would like to remain here a little longer though, to take advantage of the good winds and avoid slowing down in the high pressure systems further North. Ending this with Valentine's day greetings from the middle of South Atlantic! Have a great day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Clear Sky! After many days!

After over three days of non stop gales, today was the clearest sky I saw since a long time. The sun was up and warm and it was great working on deck bare feet and without any woolens. Can't remember when I did that last, probably not since leaving Australia in November! The wind has stayed a steady 10 to 15 kts from WNW and with a comfortable Westerly swell Mhadei has been doing a NE course almost on her own. Its strange how the mind forgets the misery of the bad weather days and starts enjoying the good ones. There is a star studded night outside, as I write, with a gentle 12 kts breeze and a following current making us move at over 7 kts with hardly any bouncing around. I think we used to bounce around more while tied alongside at Port Stanley! A cold front is expected to pass us later tonight so the winds will pick up and it will be time to shorten sail. Till then enjoying the moment!  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Riding a Weather system's tail!

Since this morning we seem to have stepped on the tail of an East moving weather system. So big seas, strong winds and a nice following current translating into almost 100 Nm through the day! Bit of a wild ride but the boat's holding well and miles are being eaten away so well worth getting tossed around. Lets see how long we are able to hold on to it! We have finally left the "Furious Fifties" behind and are trying to cross the "Roaring Forties" in a hurry before the next system, already forming to our West catches up with us. It is definitely getting warmer with clearer skies and a sun that actually warms you up.
          Since a lot of readers have written that they don't understand much of the sailing jargon, attaching a simplified version of the Beaufort wind scale to make things easier. This was given to me by my hosts Pip & John at Fremantle, both experienced sailors themselves. I actually find it more realistic and easy to relate to than the real Beaufort scale!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Off again!

We are back at sea after a memorable send off by the Governor of Falklands and HMS York, among others, at 1000 h on 01 Feb 10. Thanks to the hospitality of the Falklanders and the British armed forces, the crew though busy with repair work on board, had a great time ashore and is back to the task of finding their rested sea legs. Mhadei is moving along nicely with a much lighter steering post repairs and considerably less swell than that experienced during the last leg. Apart from a couple of hrs of gusty winds touching 40 kts as a front passed over us yesterday it has been good sailing so far with clear skies and moderate winds. In fact as I write there is a beautiful yellow moon rising ahead of us leading the way to Africa, 3000 Nm across the Atlantic. Gales are predicted for the next two days but we will see when we meet them, presently its time to enjoy the sail on a calm moonlit night.